Men’s Interhall Football: St. Ed’s looks to continue suprise season against Siegfried
Matt Gamber, Andy Ziccarelli, Jared Jedick, and Sam Werner | Friday, October 12, 2007
If Siegfried had looked at its schedule during the preseason, it might have viewed Sunday’s 2 p.m. matchup with St. Ed’s as an easy victory. Not anymore, as the Stedsmen – last year’s league doormat – are 3-0, and the rest of the league has taken notice.
“We haven’t really gotten a chance to scout them that much, but we know they’re a lot better this year than they have been in the past,” Siegfried senior captain Tom Martin said. “We’ll really have to come out focused to beat them.”
The Ramblers (1-0-1), led by junior running back Marcus Young, will stick with a two-quarterback system that has been relatively successful thus far. Junior Max Young and freshman Mike Garcia are both pocket passers with similar styles, and that fact has allowed for a “smooth transition” between the two, Martin said.
“We don’t have a set system,” said Martin, who will play offensive guard and defensive end. “Rotating them lets us keep them fresh and allows them to play some defense. So far, it’s been mostly about keeping people healthy, and it’s worked.”
For St. Ed’s, a talented freshman class, led by quarterback Matt Abeling and top receiver Dan Crisman, has been a driving force in leading the Stedsmen back to respectability – and now, beyond.
“It’s mostly been a change in attitude – once you win a game, everything changes, and we’ve realized we can play with the best of them,” senior linebacker and fullback Ge Wang said. “The freshmen have definitely played a large part in that, but there’s a good amount of upperclassmen who have provided a lot of leadership.”
The St. Ed’s defense has also played a big role with defensive touchdowns in their past two wins. Junior strong safety Dan Murphy, an Observer sports writer, leads the team with two interceptions, one of which he returned for an 85-yard touchdown against Carroll.
Up front, Wang and senior defensive lineman Corey Fitzpatrick have anchored the defense that “excels by playing team ball,” Wang said.
And while the Stedsmen are anxious to begin their first playoff run in recent memory, they won’t be looking past their regular season finale.
“We treat every game we play as if it’s our last one,” Wang said. “It’d be really something to end our season undefeated, and that’s our goal.”
Dillon vs. Morrissey
After picking up its first win of the season last weekend, Dillon will look to continue its turnaround against defending champion Morrissey.
Junior captain Alex Duffy said that limiting mistakes will be crucial.
“What we’ve been focusing on in practice is maintaining the aggression and intensity that makes us a good football team, while limiting the mental slip-ups that can cost us games,” Duffy said.
It was a Keough miscue that Dillon capitalized on last week, recovering a muffed punt to set up the game-winning touchdown. Led by outside linebacker Brett Berceau, the Big Red will look for their defense to step up again this week.
“Our defense was nasty,” Duffy said. “We have a group of studs.”
The Dillon defense will have their hands full this Sunday as they take on the high-powered Manor offense. Despite missing starting quarterback Joe McBrayer last week, Morrissey still managed to move the ball effectively in its 12-0 win over O’Neill, twice stringing together long touchdown drives from deep in its own territory. Senior Nick Bencomo and sophomore Mike Fletcher have both done damage out of the backfield so far this season for the Manorites.
The Dillon offense managed to break out last week. After being shut out by Stanford in their first game, Dillon found the end zone twice last week in its 12-6 win over Keough.
“We ran our offense very efficiently against Keough,” Duffy said.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Garigliano will lead the Big Red attack, while workhorse Duffy will shoulder the load as running back.
“Interhall games are so short because of the running clock that it’s very tough to overcome mistakes,” Duffy said.
The action begins Sunday at 3 p.m. at Riehle Field.
Fisher vs. Knott
Fisher will attempt to continue its undefeated season against Knott Hall Sunday at 3 p.m. at Riehle Field.
Fisher enters the game at 2-0, with wins over Sorin and Carroll.
The defense and special teams have been key for Fisher. The Green Wave scored a touchdown off a blocked punt and added two interceptions and a turnover on downs against the Vermin.
The Fisher offense is led by senior quarterback Kevin Rabil. Rabil’s veteran leadership has kept the team on the positive side of the turnover battle this year. Rabil’s main target this season has been fellow senior Pat Gotebeski.
The Green Wave’s experience will make them a team to contend with deep into the playoffs.
Knott needs to come up with an upset victory to keep its own playoff hopes alive. Knott dropped to 1-1 after a 20-6 loss to St. Ed’s last week in which they felt they deserved the win.
“We scored first, and we set the tone offensively,” sophomore captain Aidan Fitzgerald said. “It was a few missed snaps and an interception returned for a touchdown that killed us.”
Catching up with Fisher will be a tall order for the Juggerknotts, who are without a go-to quarterback. Knott’s first and second-string signal-callers will be unavailable due to injuries and prior commitments, and they will be forced to play with inexperienced freshman Nick Lezynski.
“He was very good in high school. We just hope that he can make the translation into the Interhall game,” Fitzgerald said.
The Juggerknotts will try to take some pressure of Lezynski by running the ball early and often. Fitzgerald wants the team to come out with a good balanced strategy. Freshman running back Cameron Smith has led the Knott rushing attack so far this year.
“We are not the biggest team, but we make our blocks and we create holes to run through,” Fitzgerald said.
The focus throughout practice this week has been on doing the little things on each and every single play.
“We need elevated execution and intensity on every down,” Fitzgerald said.
A win against Fisher will boost the Juggerknotts chances of making the playoffs, and Fitzgerald expects his team to be up to the challenge.
“We responded pretty well when we needed a win in our second game against Zahm. This team knows how to step up,” Fitzgerald said.
Carroll vs. Sorin
Carroll and Sorin will be playing for hall pride when they face off at 1 p.m. Sunday at Riehle Field. Even though both teams are eliminated from playoff contention in the Blue League, they still plan to fight for a win this weekend.
“We just have to stick to our game plan and see what we can do,” Vermin senior captain Kyle Kownacki said.
Carroll, 0-3 on the season, will look to find some type of offensive consistency behind sophomore quarterback John Sarna.
“A lot of the points we’ve given up have been off turnovers,” Kownacki said.
The defense has been the sole bright spot for the Vermin this season, holding opponents to a paltry 6.3 points per game.
“I can’t really single any one guy out,” Kownacki said. “Our defense has just played well all year.”
They face an Otter team that has also had its share of disappointment this year, going 0-2 and scoring just one touchdown in two games.
“As you can tell by our record, it’s been pretty tough,” Sorin senior captain Ryan Bove said.
Bove attributed his team’s disappointing season to mental mistakes on both sides of the ball.
“If we cut down on mistakes, we’re a couple of plays away from being 2-0,” he said. “We’ve given up four or five big plays, which is huge [in this league].”
Against the Vermin, expect the Otters to continue to pound a running attack centered around sophomore running back Rob Gallic and rely on a strong defense to keep the game close.
Sorin should be aided on defense by the return of sophomore lineman Preston Bennett, who missed the first two games to injury.
“[Bennett] should definitely help,” Bove said. “We’ve been short on linemen, and he can help fill that position and free up other guys to play other spots.”
Even though their main focus may already be toward next season, expect both teams to fight for a win on Sunday.
“It’s been disappointing,” Kownacki said. “But we’re just going to go out there and have fun.”