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Men’s Interhall Football: Stretch runs

Eric Prister, Alex Barker, Laura Myers and Mike Gotimer | Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Crooked Stick will stay in Fisher for another year after the Green Wave defeated the Carroll Vermin 15-0 Sunday.

Fisher’s defense was once again stifling, intercepting three Vermin passes.

“We’ve pitched two shutouts in a row,” senior coach John Donovan said. “Basically, today, the defense outscored the offense. … Really, they just came to play. They’ve really been the backbone of our team so far.”

After both teams were forced to punt on their first drives, the Fisher defense stopped Carroll and then blocked a punt, which was returned for a touchdown by sophomore Cameron Compton.

“That was huge,” Donovan said.

Later in the first half, the Green Wave defense killed another Vermin drive. This time, Fisher stopped Carroll on fourth down and gave the offense great field position. It capitalized on the ensuing possession when senior fullback Tom Bufalino ran for a four-yard touchdown, extending Fisher’s lead to 15-0.

The Green Wave focused on the running game in the second half and tried to keep the clock moving. Fisher sophomore running back Jamie Ellis, the Green Wave’s featured back, finished the game with nine carries for 51 yards.

Forced to pass, the Vermin replaced sophomore quarterback Jon Sarna with freshman Kris Kast. Kast struggled, completing only one pass and throwing two interceptions.

“We finally got [the Crooked Stick] back last year,” Donovan said. “It’s our big rivalry game with Carroll, so to win and keep it at home means a lot to us.”

Fisher looks to continue its win streak next week when it takes on Knott. Carroll will face winless Sorin.

Morrissey 12, O’Neill 0

Despite the absence of two-year starting quarterback Joe McBrayer, the Morrissey passing attack did not miss a beat against O’Neill Sunday.

Backup quarterback Alvin Reynolds passed for two touchdowns and only one interception as he and wide receiver Carl Anderson led the Manor to its second win of the season, a victory over O’Neill.

“We played a complete game this week,” sophomore fullback and defensive end John Saulitis said.

Sophomore lineman Spencer White said the team could be in better shape despite the win.

“The main thing we need to work on is our conditioning,” White said.

The offensive production was much better this week for Morrissey, which was held to only six points last week against Keenan. To supplement its passing attack, Morrissey went with a running back-by-committee game plan this week and split the carries between power backs Saulitis and senior captain Nick Bencomo and change-of-pace running back sophomore Mike Fletcher. This three-headed monster accounted for two-thirds of Morrissey’s offensive production.

Both of Morrissey’s touchdowns came as a result of long drives that started deep in its own territory. Just before halftime, Reynolds drove the Morrissey offense down the field and deep into Mob territory.

With just a few seconds left, he tossed up a pass to Anderson, who made an acrobatic one-handed catch to put the Manorites on the scoreboard.

When the teams came back onto the field for the second half, Reynolds put together an identical drive that resulted in another touchdown pass to Anderson.

“We came out and played pretty well in the first half. But in the second half, they made some big plays that put them ahead,” Forte said.

For O’Neill, things started to go wrong from the very beginning. After forcing a punt on Morrissey’s first possession, junior punt returner Nate Forte was knocked out of the game after suffering a huge hit from sophomore linebacker Phil Yuhas during the return.

The Manor offense was aided by its tough defense, led by Yuhas. Morrissey forced two turnovers on downs and two interceptions in its dominating performance.

“The defense played like their hair was on fire today,” Yuhas said. “I felt like we shut down O’Neill’s offense pretty well today and gave our offense good opportunities to score.”

Morrissey’s stifling defense held the Mob to only one first down on each of its five possessions.

Things look grim for O’Neill, which dropped to 0-3 on the season. This loss knocks the Mob out of the playoff hunt, and it will only be able to play spoiler next week against Alumni.

For Morrissey, this win puts it in good position to make the playoffs and control its own destiny. It needs a win next week against Dillon to reach the playoffs.

Siegfried 6, Zahm 6

A first-half Siegfried touchdown was the Siegfried-Zahm game’s only offense until the fourth quarter, when Zahm senior quarterback and captain Sean Wieland tied Sunday’s game at 6-6 on a quarterback sneak.

Then the game got interesting.

With less than 8 minutes left, Siegfried regained possession. After a 28-yard, six-minute drive, junior quarterback Max Young threw a long pass, which was intercepted by Zahm freshman Dylan Fernandez.

Over the remaining 1:28, the ball was intercepted twice more, preventing either team from scoring.

Zahm coach T.J. Stouder was proud of how his defense played against the explosive Ramblers offense.

“The defense was great,” he said. “They really came out strong and made some key plays, especially in the second half.

“We played much better than last week.”

The Zahmbies, now 1-1-1, are heading into a bye week with the playoffs on their minds. Siegfried, now 1-0-1, is also looking to play in the Stadium.

Siegfried’s next opponent is St. Ed’s on Oct. 14, and Zahm will play Sorin on Oct. 17.

St. Edward’s 20, Knott 6

St. Edward’s continued its improbable run Sunday as it defeated Knott.

Led by freshman quarterback Matt Abeling and an opportunistic defense, St. Ed’s improved its record to 3-0.

“We got a good group of freshman and good leadership, and we put in the effort this year,” Stedsman coach Cameron Hogue said. “It’s a change in attitude. We had to change the attitude.”

Knott struck first on its opening drive when freshman running back Cameron Smith exploded through the line and took the ball 65 yards for a touchdown. St. Ed’s next two drives resulted in interceptions, requiring the defense to step up.

Senior Nick Strom intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to give St. Ed’s a 7-6 lead going into halftime.

“The defense is rock solid, and they lead the way,” Hogue said.

St. Ed’s then came out throwing in the second half and capped its first drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Abeling to sophomore Joe DeMott.

“[Abeling] gives us flexibility. He can throw every ball in the book and teams have to prepare for that,” Hogue said.

Knott threatened once more, but the St. Ed’s defense wouldn’t budge. Senior Corey Dinkins and freshman Chris Dinkins each recorded a sack, and the defense forced a turnover on downs. That set up a seven-yard touchdown run, putting the game out of hand.

“[The defense] can set up the offense with short field and then we just have to go out and execute,” Hogue said.

Abeling finished the game with 12-of-21 for 147 yards. His No. 1 receiver, freshman Dan Crisman, caught seven balls for 95 yards in the game. St. Ed’s looks to remain unbeaten as it takes on Siegfried next Sunday. Knott will face undefeated Fisher.

Keenan 26, Alumni 0

Keenan dominated Alumni from the opening play of Sunday’s win, and with their third win of the season, the Knights clinched a playoff berth in the Gold League.

On the first play of the game, Keenan intercepted an Alumni screen pass. On the ensuing possession, freshman quarterback Brian Castello threw a touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Jim Zenker for the first of their three touchdown connections on the day. Keenan’s two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score at 6-0.

In the second quarter, Alumni intercepted a Castello pass, but the defender fumbled, and Keenan recovered deep in Alumni territory. Shortly after that play, Castello connected with Zenker again and the Knights took a 12-0 lead into the half.

Keenan threw an interception on the opening drive of the second half, but recovered an Alumni fumble on the Dawgs’ ensuing possession. After a long Keenan completion, the Knights punched the ball into the end zone from inside the Alumni five-yard line to take an 18-0 lead.

Keenan’s offensive success continued into the fourth quarter, as Castello and Zenker connected on a long touchdown pass for the third time. Keenan converted its first two-point conversion of the game to cap off a dominating win over Alumni.

Keenan improved to 3-0 with the win. The Knights have a bye this week, but they face Gold League co-leader Stanford in their next game. Alumni fell to 0-2 with the loss. The Dawgs look to earn their first win of the season next week against O’Neill.

Dillon 12, Keough 6

In a battle between two teams that looked to keep their playoff hopes alive, Dillon was able to come out on top against Keough Sunday with a win.

“This win feels great,” Dillon captain Alex Duffy said. “However, we don’t really have time to celebrate because we have defending champs Morrissey next week.”

The game started slow, as both defenses controlled the game. Each team forced an interception in the first quarter. Dillon (1-1) was able to force Keough (1-2) into a turnover on downs as well.

Keough put the first points of the game on the board in the second quarter when a long touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Briggeman gave the Kangaroos a 6-0 lead.

Dillon came out on the attack on its next possession with a long drive that ended with a touchdown ran in by Duffy. The drive included a diving catch by sophomore wide receiver Chris Cugliari that jarred his helmet off his head. Dillon could not convert its two-point conversion attempt, and the teams went into halftime with the score tied at six.

In the third quarter, Dillon capitalized on a Keough mishap to take the lead. After Keough forced a Dillon punt, the punt was muffed, and junior Luke Jarzynka recovered the muff for Dillon. Soon after the Keough miscue, Dillon took the lead on a touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Garigliano to Cugliari. Dillon’s second failed two-point conversion made the score 12-6.

Dillon’s stout defense preserved the win for the Big Red in the fourth quarter. Keough ran the ball well and found themselves with a first and goal late with just a few minutes remaining in the game.

However, Dillon stopped four straight run plays from Keough, and after a long run from Garigliano on its ensuing possession, the Big Red ran out the clock to pick up their first win of the season.