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WOMEN’S INTERHALL FOOTBALL: Defense helps Cavanaugh stay undeafeated

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cavanaugh 7, Howard 6

Cavanaugh exacted revenge for last year’s last-second defeat as they kept Howard out of the end zone as the clock expired on a 7-6 victory.

“That was the same game as last year,” Howard coach Kyle Carter said. “Except that last time we scored with four seconds left and this time they got us back [with a defensive stop].”

Howard opened the scoring in the first half with a 10-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore quarterback and captain Kayla Bishop.

“I just had to scramble,” Bishop said. “I was responding to the pressure.”

The Ducks could not covert the two-point conversion though, and the score stayed at 6-0.

Cavanaugh responded near the end of the first half as the Chaos offense marched down the field and scored behind the play of quarterback and captain Katie Dunn. Cavanaugh went into halftime up 7-6 after adding the PAT.

Howard came out in the second half and marched into the red zone behind two Bishop runs for fourth down conversions and a 12-yard pass to senior Laura Geizman, the Ducks’ number one receiver.

“She’s got a lot of experience,” Bishop said. “It’s great to have her around.”

The Cavanaugh defense responded to Howard’s impressive drive by tightening up and stopping the Ducks on fourth and goal.

Howard got the ball back again after stopping the Chaos, but their drive again stalled at the Cavanaugh 7-yard line.

The Chaos again failed to kill enough time off the clock, though, and were forced to punt with 40 seconds left. Howard couldn’t capitalize, and the game ended in defeat for the Ducks after two consecutive incomplete passes from the 39-yard line.

“The defense played really well,” Bishop said. “We were just ineffective in the red zone on offense. We’ll have to focus on winning our next two games in order to make the playoffs.”

Pangborn 21, Badin 9

Pangborn grabbed its first win of the young season Sunday, triumphing 21-9 over the winless Badin.

Pangborn (1-2) came rushing out of the gates with their offense firing on all cylinders. They scored two touchdowns early to put Badin back on their heels.

“The first half, our offense seemed to click,” Pangborn captain Kathy Poploski said.

The two scores left Badin (0-2-1) demoralized and facing an uphill battle the remainder of the game.

“We got in such an early hole, [and] the games are short so it was tough for us to catch up,” Badin coach Jon Heintz said.

While Pangborn converted its chances, Badin struggled to score, having two drives snuffed out in the red zone by interceptions.

“Where we failed to score, they capitalized,” Badin captain Katie Rose said.

Heintz also recognized the Bullfrogs failure to make the most of their offensive chances.

“Converting in the red zone was the difference,” he said.

Badin’s defense struggled to slow the Phoxes offense, especially quarterback Gabby Tate, who gave the Bullfrog secondary trouble all afternoon.

“It was the first time we have played a quarterback that has been that strong throwing and running,” said Rose.

The absence of a few key receivers and linemen also hurt Badin, but Rose was happy with the way the subs performed.

“The girls who ended up stepping in to play did a great job,” she said.

The dying minutes of the game saw Badin go into their hurry-up offense, desperate for a score. After a long drive, freshman Carli Fernandez caught the Bullfrogs first touchdown of the day. Badin decided to go for a three-point conversion, and they were successful with the attempt. It was too little, too late, though, as time was no longer on their side.

Heintz was disappointed with the loss, but still happy with his team’s effort.

“For the most part we played well,” he said. “But they just got the best of us.”

Walsh 14, Lewis 0

Several key turnovers paved the way to a 14-0 Walsh victory over Lewis Sunday at LaBar Field

Faced with a scoreless tie after halftime against the Chicks (0-2), Walsh (2-1) safety Kim Bugos intercepted Lewis quarterback Brianna Curtis on a deep pass over the middle. The Wild Women then drove down the field and scored on a receiver sweep to put them up 7-0.

Later in the half, Walsh scored again on a run to the left to increase the advantage to 14-0. Two more Wild Women interceptions sealed the victory, providing a good birthday present for coach J.J. Rees.

Walsh cornerback Allison Vicenzi also came away with a key interception, while quarterback Emily Murphy consistently found receiver Bugos downfield, providing a vertical threat to the Walsh passing attack.

Assistant Coach Jeremiah Herman said Murphy’s maturation was a key component of the win.

“We saw our quarterback grow up today,” Herman said. “She’s doing better with her reads, looking off her receivers, and just throwing it around to everyone.”

Though the win boosted the confidence of a young Walsh team, Herman stressed that his team needs to stay humble.

“We still have a long ways to go,” Herman said. “We’re pretty much a second half team. We need to be a whole-game team if we hope to make it all the way to the Stadium this year.”

For Lewis, the loss was discouraging, but they know they still have time to improve. Assistant Coach Christian Galvan cited a series of unfortunate plays as the reason for the loss. Lewis held even with Walsh throughout the first half, playing “mistake-free ball” as Galvan called it.

The second half was a different story, though, and turnovers proved to be the downfall of the Chicks. Galvan said he did see encouraging signs, however. A fierce Lewis pass rush harassed Walsh quarterback Emily Murphy all game, sacking her twice and forcing a bad pass that Lewis intercepted.

Galvan was also impressed with his team’s offense.

“We certainly showed a lot of improvement this week,” he said. “[We] certainly threw the ball better, certainly got down the field a lot more.” Though they have yet to win, Galvan emphasized that the Chicks are still “nowhere near over with our season.”

Breen-Phillips 0, Farley 0

In a defensive showcase, the Breen-Phillips Babes and Farley’s Finest ended their game Sunday in a 0-0 tie.

Each team had two chances at putting points on the board, but thanks to superior defense, and one penalty, neither team succeeded.

On the first drive of the game, Farley marched down the field, and sophomore quarterback Emily Murphy threw a five-yard touchdown pass, but an illegal block negated the play.

B.P., meanwhile, had two drives end two yards from the end zone. An interception off a deflected pass stopped one possession. The other simply could not gain the final two yards.

Coach Bryan Chamberlain did see some positives in his team’s offensive performance.

“Our offense had more ups than downs,” he said. “The downs just came at inopportune times.”

On the final drive of the game, with less than a minute remaining, Farley faced third-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Neither a quarterback sneak nor a quick pass attempt could gain the yard, and thus the game ended in a scoreless tie.

The longest lasting effect of this game could be the limitations to the Farley offense without injured wide receiver and team captain, senior Jenny Rolfs. In the first half, a Breen-Phillips defender knocked Rolfs out of bounds and to the ground. Rolfs felt her injury “threw the team for a bit of a loop.”

Rolfs went on to credit Murphy.

“Emily did a great job keeping the team together,” Rolfs said. “And she had a couple of great runs.”

As of Sunday night, Rolfs listed herself as questionable with badly bruised ribs for next Sunday’s game against Walsh Family.

Chamberlain hopes to keep the team from getting frustrated. He optimistically calls the Babes “undefeated,” as both of their games this season have ended in ties. The Babes will look to change that fact, and remain undefeated, on Thursday against Pangborn.

PW 12, PE 6

Pasquerilla West earned their first win of the season this Sunday with a 12 – 6 victory over rival Pasquerilla East.

The PW (1-0-1) offense came out strong early, taking an early lead that the defense protected throughout the second half by putting constant pressure on the quarterback.

The scoring began early in the first half when the Purple Weasel quarterback connected with a receiver for a touchdown on a fourth and goal play. The two-point conversion failed, though, and the Pyros (0-2) took over on offense.

However, Pasquerilla East quickly lost any momentum they had started to gain when their drive was halted behind the 10 yard line on a key interception for the Purple Weasels that was run in for a touchdown, putting the Weasels up by 12.

“We started off rough on both sides of the ball,” Pyro freshman Nneka Ekechukwu said. “There were runs that we just couldn’t complete.”

The Pyros finally scored in the last minutes of the second half when quarterback Caitlin Lynch connected for a touchdown pass. However, even this momentum didn’t last long. Pasquerilla West forced another key interception with less than a minute left to play that stifled the PE offense.

“The last game was tough for us on both sides of the ball. This win was definitely a huge confidence booster,” Purple Weasel senior captain Cara Davies said.

Clearly, the win energized the PW team that was held scoreless against Cavanaugh last game.

PW coach Derek Woznicki had nothing but praise for his team’s performance.

“The offense really clicked today and our defense made the big plays,” Woznicki said.

On the other side, even the Pyros played a much tighter game despite taking the loss.

“We’ve improved a lot from last week so we’re all excited for the next game,” Ekechukwu said. “We know we’ll come out strong early after today’s game.”