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Men’s Interhall Football: Zahm takes down Carroll, St. Ed’s wins

Matt Gamber, Jared Jedick, Eugenia Alfonzo, Mike Gotimer and Alex Barker | Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Zahm 12, Carroll 0

If the Zahmbies had any opening day jitters, they can thank junior running back Theo Ossei-Anto for calming them quickly.

Ossei-Anto tore through the Carroll defense for a 50-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play, setting the tone for Zahm’s triumph over the Vermin. Ossei-Anto finished with 123 yards on 12 carries and two rushing touchdowns. Despite those eye-popping numbers, he downplayed his role and deflected praise to his teammates.

“I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t really even have to juke anybody,” Ossei-Anto said. “When the offensive line’s that good, opening holes that big, all I have to do is run through them.”

Senior quarterback Sean Wieland was efficient in directing the Zahm offense, which gained 227 total yards to Carroll’s 71. Wieland completed four of his seven passes for 86 yards. He found freshman Xavier Murphy three times for 70 yards, as the tall wide receiver repeatedly caused a mismatch on the outside.

The “workhorse” of the day, Ossei-Anto said, was sophomore Jared Carter. He played every snap on both offense and defense, running six times for 15 yards and providing Ossei-Anto with plenty of running room – and Carroll’s offense none at all.

Carter’s defense included Murphy and fellow freshman Robbie Weber, who both had interceptions.

“The defense was in a couple tough spots, but they came up with some huge plays,” Ossei-Anto said of the unit that didn’t allow a first down in the second half.

Carroll quarterback sophomore Jon Sarna was hurried all day, and several of his 12 pass attempts were highly contested or broken up at the line. He completed five passes for 34 yards, but his two interceptions were costly. Vermin senior tailback Mike Valluzo was effective, gaining 29 yards on six carries, but his impact was limited because the Vermin were playing from behind.

Senior lineman Ben Gern recorded a sack for a Carroll defense that, for the most part, held strong. Freshman Kris Kast blocked a punt late in the fourth quarter, but Zahm had pulled too far ahead for the Vermin to mount a comeback.

“Our performance was really impressive, especially considering all the freshmen we had,” Wieland said. “We just stuck to some basic plays, and hey – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

St. Ed’s 12, Sorin 7

St. Ed’s broke a three-year winless streak by defeating Sorin on Sunday.

The euphoria on the St. Ed’s sideline was palpable as a team that hadn’t scored a point in years got a taste of victory.

St. Ed’s coach Cameron Hogue set the tone on offense early by calling a flea flicker on the first play from scrimmage.

“We’ve got to play to our strengths,” Hogue said.

But after making the catch, freshman wide receiver Dan Crisman fumbled the ball, giving Sorin its first opportunity.

After a messy Otters drive ended in a blocked punt, Crisman took advantage of a chance at redemption. Freshman quarterback Matt Abeling connected with Crisman for a deep touchdown.

“It was the perfect play for our first touchdown in years,” Crisman said.

St. Ed’s failed on the two-point conversion attempt.

St. Ed’s and the Otters then traded punts to reach halftime with St. Ed’s leading 6-0.

A fumble by Sorin in the second half put St. Ed’s in good field position. On the first play of the possession, Abeling’s pass was tipped by the Sorin corner right into the hands of Crisman, who then scampered in for the St. Ed’s touchdown.

“It was a little inside, but it bounced up for the taking, and I just grabbed it and ran it in,” Crisman said.

Another failed two-point conversion kept the score at 12-0.

On the following possession, the Otters finally came to life. Sparked by several key passes by sophomore quarterback Casey McGushin and the strong running of senior captain Ryan Bove, the Otters drove the ball downfield.

Bove punched the ball into the end zone for the touchdown and the Otters converted the extra point.

Sorin forced a three-and-out to get the ball back, but there was not enough time left to overtake St. Ed’s.

McGushin converted on a quarterback keeper on fourth down to keep the drive alive, but a sack and a false start penalty sealed Sorin’s fate.

Bove said the loss was a result of errors on both sides of the ball.

“They were mentally ready, and we were not,” Boye said. “Penalties and that fumble killed us.”

The Otters hope to raise the quality of play this coming week in practice. “We want to try and find a team to scrimmage this week, so we can work on our snap counts and pick up the intensity,” Bove said.

The St. Ed’s team credited its success to a strategy of “aerial misdirection,” senior captain Ge Wang said.

Morrissey 20, Alumni 0

It didn’t take long for Morrissey playmaker Carl Anderson to take over the game against Alumni Sunday.

On the Manorites’ second drive, junior quarterback Joe McBrayer connected with Anderson down the sideline for a 60-yard touchdown pass, part of an inspiring passing performance by McBrayer that sparked a blowout win over the Dawgs.

Despite the score, Alumni captain Bret Shapot said his team was not completely overmatched.

“They were a good team,” Shapot said. “They had three long passes, but other than that, as far as I’m concerned it was a tie game.”

And Anderson’s impact was not limited to the offensive side of the ball. On Alumni’s third possession, Anderson broke up a fourth-down pass from the safety position to regain the possession for the Manorites in their own territory.

Two plays later, McBrayer once again found an open Anderson running down the sideline for another 60-yard touchdown pass that put the defending champions in firm control of the game.

When they came out for the second half, the Manorites displayed the balance that led them to the championship a season ago. Senior captain Nick Bencomo led a powerful running attack behind a skilled offensive line that guided Morrissey down the field on the opening drive of the half. Ultimately, the Alumni defense stalled the drive by forcing a turnover on downs.

On Alumni’s first possession after the break, Morrissey safety Mike Fletcher came down with an interception to give the Manorites field position in Alumni territory.

McBrayer took advantage of the short field and completed his third touchdown pass of the game, this time to junior receiver Warren Scott.

After the score, both defenses took over and the scoring came to a halt.

In the last two minutes of the game, Alumni put together its best drive of the game and marched inside the Morrissey’s five-yard line. Determined to preserve the shutout, Morrissey’s stingy defense, led by defensive lineman Mike Kaiser and sophomore middle linebacker Phil Yuhas, made a stand. The team kept Alumni out of the end zone as time ran out to end the game.

“I thought we played hard, our quarterback made some good throws and our receivers made some good catches,” junior Cole Davis said. “Our defense was solid as usual.”

Next week, the Manorites will face Keenan and the Dawgs will have the week off.

Keenan 12, Keough 0

The Keenan Knights defeated Keough in an intense game that was dominated by the run. After Keenan junior running back Alex Gonzalez asserted himself early, Knights wide receiver Jon Wood caught a pass from sophomore quarterback Chris Bathon that eventually led the Knights to the first touchdown of the game.

Keough gained momentum on the ensuing punt return, but a Keenan interception with 38 seconds left in the first half dashed the Kangaroos’ hopes of scoring.

After halftime, both teams came out firing. Wood scored another touchdown in the third quarter for Keenan and Keough offense started to show signs of life.

But the Keenan defense kept the Kangaroos out of the end zone.

“We have a great potential for a running offense, we just need to work on basics and footwork,” Keough senior defensive end and tackle John Kadous said.

Kangaroos junior captain Tom O’Donnell hopes his team will play more physically next week.

“This just gives us more motivation for next week, [we need] just need to get bigger and nastier,” O’ Donnell said.

The Knights, meanwhile, were glad to start the year on a positive note.

“Our whole team played great, defense and offense were really good,” coach Matt Gibson said.

Gibson said he is trying not to think of the postseason yet, but he was confident after the triumph. “Today we started the revolution,” Gibson said. “Step one happened and it’ll continue against Morrissey next week.”

Stanford 8, O’Neill 0

Stanford avenged the loss that kept it from the championship game last year as the Griffins shut out O’Neill in a defensive battle Sunday.

“It felt really good to beat such a good team so early in the season,” Stanford senior running back Tregg Duerson said.

O’Neill’s first drive of the game ended with an interception by Stanford junior safety Dave Costanzo, a former Notre Dame varsity player. Stanford then went three-and-out in a drive that epitomized the offensive patterns of both teams throughout the majority of the game.

O’Neill junior receiver Nate Forte led his offense with a pair of receptions. The first catch converted a fourth down during the second quarter. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, he caught a 23-yard pass from senior quarterback Chris Stroh.

But the Stanford defense made some clutch plays and stopped the Mob when it mattered. Griffins sophomore defensive tackle Bob Huguelet ended the first half with a sack, and the remainder of O’Neill’s drives resulted in punts.

Finally, in the fourth quarter, Stanford put some points on the board. In contrast with their stale offense of the first three quarters, the Griffins only needed three plays to get from their own 46-yard line to the end zone.

Griffins junior quarterback Brian Salvi completed two passes on the drive, first to freshman Kevin Ritt for 16 yards then to Costanzo for 36 yards. The two completions gave Stanford a first-and-goal on the two-yard line, setting up a two-yard run by Duerson for the touchdown.

Forte blocked the Griffins’ extra point attempt, but a penalty on O’Neill gave Stanford another opportunity to convert from inside the 3-yard line. This time, they converted for two points as Duerson reached the end zone for a second time to make the score 8-0 Stanford.

The Mob had one last chance to tie the game, but came up short after failing to convert on a fourth down play.

Siegfried 21, Knott 0

Siegfried tight end Kevin Kelly caught two touchdowns as Ramblers shut out Mod Quad rival Knott.

The game started slowly, with neither team advancing past the other’s 35-yard line in the first quarter.

Early in the contest, both teams played conservative football and called mostly running plays. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that Siegfried was able to put the first points on the scoreboard. After Ramblers freshman fullback Dan Scime converted on a key fourth-and-two play in Knott territory, Kelly came up with his first touchdown catch of the game on a pass from junior quarterback Max Young after it was tipped by the Knott defense. Kelly’s score gave Siegfried a 7-0 lead going into the half.

In the second half, Siegfried switched quarterbacks as freshman signal-caller Max Garcia replaced Young. After a long run from junior running back Marcus Young, Garcia was able to sneak into the end zone for Siegfried’s second score. The play gave the Ramblers a 14-0 lead going into the final quarter of play.

But Knott did not back down late, as the squad continued to give the Ramblers all they could handle. After a long run that brought the Juggerknotts deep into Siegfried territory for the first time in the game, the Ramblers were able to stifle the Knott offense and force a turnover on downs.

After the turnover, Garcia hit Kelly on a long touchdown pass, his second of the day. On the ensuing Knott possession, Siegfried was able to force a fumble that allowed the Ramblers to run down the clock and cruise to victory, their first of the season and second straight over Knott.