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Men’s Interhall: Young Carroll squad seeks improvement on 0-4 season

Joe Meixell | Friday, September 19, 2008

Despite different results last season, both St. Eward’s and Carroll will try to get their interhall seasons off to a hot start on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Rehle fields.

The Stedsmen, who had a 3-2 record last season, return sophomore quarterback Matt Abeling.

“Last year was totally unexpected and fun after St. Ed’s supposedly failed to score a single point during the previous four seasons,” team captain Andy Nester said.

St. Ed’s has been working extensively on perfecting its kickoff return and coverage teams and is intent on playing together as a team.

“We really want to stress team unity and being on the same page,” Nester said.

The Vermin are looking to improve their team after going 0-4 last season.

“We had our ups and downs,” captain Nick Ruof said. “But we’ve been working on smashmouth football with our double tight-end formations and a clever defensive scheme.”

Carroll’s squad is comprised mostly of young players, but does return last year’s quarterback Kris Kast.

“We just want to have some fun and score more points than the other team,” Ruof said.

Dillon vs. O’Neill

The Dillon Big Red and The Angry Mob from O’Neill square off Sunday in a season-opening matchup of two teams searching for redemption.

After a disappointing 2007 season, the Mob are determined to rebound. Hopes were high after reaching the championship game in 2006, but O’Neill couldn’t get things together last year.

“We had a lot of talent, we just didn’t get much out it,” Captain Matthew Bono said of last year’s squad. “All I can say is that it’s a different offense from last year.”

Although O’Neill is changing their offensive strategy, Bono said their best chance for victory will come from good execution and playing mistake-free football.

Big Red team captain Chris Cugliari also said a rebound is possible for O’Neill.

“We’re not taking O’Neill lightly,” he said. “We believe they will be back at the top.”

The Big Red captain is confident in his team’s ability be on top as well. Last year, the Big Red lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual champion Stanford.

Cugliari thinks his team has a good chance at improving on their 2-1-1 record from last year because of their style of play. He said that his team was looking to hit hard on both sides of the ball.

Like Bono, Cugliari also his team will have the best chance at victory on Sunday if they execute well and don’t turn the ball over.

The teams play at 3:00 Sunday afternoon on Riehle Field.

Keenan vs. Keough

After falling short in the championship last year, the Keenan Knights have one mission: a return to the title game.

Keenan team captain Barton Dear is optimistic about his team’s prospects for the upcoming season.

“We lost a few key players,” Dear said. “But I think we can replace them and hopefully win it all.”

Keenan’s balance of talent on both offense and defense makes them a formidable threat.

“We should be pretty strong on both sides of the ball,” Dear said. “Last year defense was our main strength, but we have evened out a little more this year.”

Dear added that the line play on both sides of the ball, and how Keenan’s two freshman quarterbacks handle pressure, will be key. Freshmen Terry Mahoney and Pat Kelly will split time behind center for the Knights.

“We are really going to be counting on our quarterbacks … to come through for us,” Dear said.

On the other sideline, Keough will try to rebound after a 1-3 season last year.

Captain Nazur Ahmed is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season for the Kangaroos.

“We are a lot more organized than in the past. We have a lot of new talent we are excited about,” he said.

In addition to some key new players, Keough will rely on its solid receiving corps led by Chris Kosinski and Dorian Inzunza. Ahmed said Inzunza was, “extremely athletic, quick and powerful. We rely on him heavily and he always performs.”

While Ahmed understands Keenan’s reputation, he said his squad isn’t afraid of them.

“We have a lot of respect for Keenan. They are perennially a very tough competitor,” he said. “[But] we prepare for anything.”

The two will meet Sunday at 3 p.m. at Riehle Fields.

Fisher vs. Sorin

A year ago, the Fisher Green Wave came within one game of the interhall championship, losing to eventual champion Stanford.

This year’s team will have a new look, returning only nine players. Nonetheless, team captain Brian Monson isn’t worried

“Fisher football hasn’t skipped a beat from last year,” he said.

The Green Wave hopes to back up that confidence with a strong defense. Monson points to a few key returning starters on defense to uphold the Fisher tradition.

The young Fisher team will have to mature quickly, as they face Sorin Sunday.

Otters captain Rob Gallic pointed to his team’s offensive line as their greatest asset. The line hopes to plows a path for highly-touted freshman Bobby Sullivan. The Otters are so confident in Sullivan’s ability that they have adopted the phrase “Wanna win? Let Bobby spin,” as their team motto.

Both teams know the importance of starting the season off with a victory, and each squad is eager to finally gauge where they are at as a team. In a four-week regular season, each contest can be the difference between the Stadium and the dorm room.

The game kicks off Sunday at 2 p.m. at Riehle fields.

Duncan vs. Knott

Duncan Hall and Knott Hall will kick off their respective Interhall Football seasons at 2 p.m. Sunday on the Riehle Fields.

This will be the inaugural season for Duncan Hall – nickname to be announced. Led by senior captain Garrett Burke, Duncan will try to begin a winning tradition Sunday.

Duncan will field a young team, with many freshman players. However, Burke said the lack of experience will be a factor.

“Our team has a handful of upperclassmen with strong leadership that has helped our freshman get ready for game time,” he said.

Burke also added having a lot of freshmen on the team may be beneficial. Many of the freshman played large roles on their high school football teams only a year ago.

“They are still sharp from years of high school experience,” he said.

On the offensive side of the ball, Duncan has high hopes for wide receiver Mike Kearney and quarterback Chris Toups.

“Toups is pretty good if you like 6-foot-5 230-pound quarterbacks with a laser rocket arm,” said Burke, referencing one of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning’s many commercials.

On the other side of the ball, Knott will try to rebound from a disappointing 1-3 campaign last season.

Junior captain Aidan Fitzgerald said that Knott’s ground game will be one of the team’s strengths and they expect to establish a dominant rushing attack.

“We have a very deep backfield which will allow us to keep fresh legs carrying the ball,” he said.

While the Juggerknotts lost one of their biggest threats at wide receiver, Nate Prochaska, to graduation, they return many starters from last season’ squad.

Sophomore Cam Smith and Junior Jeff Skorup return, and should provide stability at the rushing and receiving positions, respectively. While fellow returning sophomore J.T. Redshaw will make his first start at quarterback for Knott.

Both teams are ready to begin their runs at the stadium.

“We are looking forward to hitting someone else for a change,” Fitzgerald said.

Alumni vs. Morrissey

Interest was so high in the Alumni Interhall football squad that it took three practices to make cuts and finalize the roster. The result of those cuts? A team that consists mostly of freshmen and sophomores.

After a rough season last year, the team will try to be a strong force in the league. “There are quite a few freshmen with a lot of experience from high school, that the team will be relying both offensively and defensively,” captain Luke Betterman said.

One of these key players is freshman running back Barrick Bollmin.

“Our quarterback can throw a great ball, we have a physical fullback, and look to be an attacking defense,” said Bollmin, who is looking forward to his first taste of Notre Dame Interhall football.

As a whole, Alumni’s strength lies in its speed, and the team has also made an effort to spend quite a bit of time in the classroom during preseason, which it hopes will give them an edge on Sunday.

Captain Joe McBrayer said Morrissey is “ready to go, ready to play,” and will be counting on a strong defense to bring them the win. On the other side of the ball, the team has been working on a new spread offense, with the quarterback receiving most snaps out of the shotgun.

“For the past few years we were a ‘three yards and a cloud of dust’ running team, but this year our offense will be much more explosive and fluid,” sophomore Phil Yuhas said.

A key to their success in the past, Yuhas should be a strong force on an aggressive defensive squad.

Other players to look for this fall include wide receiver Carl Andersen, and left tackle Mike Kaiser. The Manorites are also hoping to use speed to their advantage on both sides of the field.

Due to the recent rainfall, the two teams have had limited practice opportunities and are currently working to fit in a few extra practices before the big game.

Alumni and Morrissey will face off at 1:00pm, Sunday, at Riehle Field, in the opening game of the men’s interhall football season.