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Men’s Interhall: Morrissey stays perfect with victory over winless Duncan

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Morrissey 16, Duncan 6

After the first half, with Morrissey leading 13-0, Sunday’s game looked like more of the same from Duncan, who had yet to score on the season.

However, with just under two minutes left in the game, Highlander wide receiver Mike Kearney had a breakaway run to score Duncan’s (0-3) first touchdown of the year.

Highlander captain Garrett Burke’s prediction that Kearney “would just tear it up on the field,” definitely held true on Sunday, as the senior sparked Duncan’s offensive drives with several great catches. Overall, though, the Highlander offensive could not gain significant yardage, giving up interceptions and a safety to the Morrissey (2-0) defense.

On the other side of the ball, the Duncan defense showed potential when it held off the Manorite offense at the goal line late in the third quarter, forcing a change of possession. The line was hitting hard, including some great tackles by Highlander freshman Brett Leahy.

Offensively, Morrissey was forced to play without its starting right tackle, who is currently recovering from a sprained ankle injury.

“We definitely saw the effects of losing him for today’s game,” Manorite captain Joe McBrayer said. “But he will be ready for next week.”

Quarterback McBrayer connected consistently with junior Daniel Reimer for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter. Reimer emerged as a key player in Sunday’s game and will be a continued force on the Manorite offensive.

Running for Morrissey was Danny Deveny, who set up scoring opportunities in the third quarter, and rushed for the extra point at the end of the second.

Undefeated Morrissey is already focusing on its next game.

“If people don’t get hurt, we have the potential to do well in the regular season and in the playoffs,” said McBrayer.

St Ed’s 12, Fisher 6

St Ed’s overcame a second-half miscue that led to a Fisher touchdown and took down the Green Wave 12-6.

The Green Wave (0-3) offense struggled for much of the game, failing to sustain a drive long enough to end their streak of three games without scoring more than one touchdown. The Fisher defense meanwhile maintained a bend-but-do-not-break mindset, rarely giving up a long gain.

But St. Ed’s, with its effective short passing game out of a shotgun set, was able to string together long scoring drives.

“We gained yards in short increments by hitting guys over the middle,” St. Ed’s coach Cameron Hogue said. “We did as best as we could with what their defense showed us.”

A Matt Abeling touchdown pass provided the only scoring of the first half, and St Ed’s went into halftime with a 6-0 lead.

Momentum dramatically shifted in Fisher’s favor, though, when St. Ed’s muffed a punt return that was then recovered by Fisher freshman Chris Charnock. That momentum carried Fisher to its only touchdown of the game, a score that came without starting quarterback Mike McMahon, who suffered an injury midway through the drive.

Freshman Pat Hertenstein took over as quarterback and made a few key passes en route to Fisher’s touchdown before throwing a game-ending interception late in the fourth quarter.

“He did well for someone who hadn’t taken many reps in practice,” senior offensive lineman Dan Mahon said.

One more win will all but assure St Ed’s a playoff spot.

For Fisher, its closing game against Zahm will be a chance to end this season’s woes and possibly hurt Zahm’s chances of making the playoffs.

“We’re definitely looking to be a spoiler,” Mahon said. “But more than anything we’re going to try get the seniors involved because this is going to be their last chance to play organized football here at Notre Dame.”

Zahm 6, Carroll 6

Zahm and Carroll faced off Sunday in a matchup of gritty defenses that saw six turnovers, two extra-point stops and only two touchdowns.

In the first quarter, both teams had trouble moving the ball and each team punted at the end of its first possession. On the first play of their next drive, Rabid Bat freshman quarterback Greg Bennett was intercepted, only to have the defense force and recover a fumble on the next play.

The Zahm (0-1-1) offense continued to struggle with the Vermin defense, as it moved only nine yards on their next seven plays, and was forced to punt again. Carroll (1-1-1) wasn’t any better moving the ball against the Rabid Bat defensive line, turning it over on downs after getting stopped on a 4th and 5.

Taking over on his own 48, though, Bennett quickly got his offense going, and threw for 17 and 16 yards on the next two plays, before handing the ball off to freshman running back Colin Casey for a 15-yard scoring run. The 2-point conversion attempt was broken up, and the Rabid Bats settled for a 6-0 lead.

In the final minutes of the first half, Vermin sophomores quarterback Nick Ruof and running back Kris Kast lead a drive down to the Zahm 20-yard line. With a minute left, and the Vermin knocking at the door, senior defensive back Jason Hensler intercepted Ruof, and the Rabid Bats would run out the clock to take their 6-0 lead into half time.

“We played well, but we made some key mistakes,” Ruof said. “We will perform well when we cut down on those.”

The third quarter continued to highlight both teams’ defensive efforts, with each team producing two scoreless drives, while Carroll sophomore cornerback Sam Russ grabbed a pick.

The Vermin’s next drive lasted only two downs as Ruof was intercepted again. Zahm struggled as well, and four plays into its drive, Vermin junior defensive back Tommy Mumford would pick Bennett, then fumble the ball, only to have it scooped up by Russ and carried to the Carroll 19-yard line. With just over two minutes left in the game, Ruof optioned to Kast, who threw a 64-yard pass to a wide-open Mumford. As the clock ticked down to one minute, Ruof hit Russ in the end zone for the tying score.

“We did the same thing last week, giving up a big play at the end,” injured Zahm Captain Theo Ossei-Anto said. “We can win if we just play hard consistently all four quarters.”

The Rabid Bat’s blocked the potential twinning PAT, and the offense was unable to move the ball for a last second score.

Keenan 14, O’Neill 0

After his team’s game against O’Neill, Keenan quarterback Terry Mahoney declared “This is the new Keenan football team.”

He was right. Keenan is now a football team with a win.

After being shut out by Dillon last week, Mahoney threw a pair of touchdowns to lead the Knights (1-1-1) to victory. The Knights scored early, as Mahoney went 3-for-3 passing on the opening drive capped off by a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the score. The Mob tried to answer by quickly moving down the field, but was unable to score despite moving deep into Keenan territory, turning the ball over on downs. The two teams went to halftime with the Knights leading 7-0.

Motivated by an inspiring halftime speech by team captain Matt Bono, O’Neil (1-1-0) running back Tom Friel took a handoff 65 yards up the middle on the first play of the second half, breaking several tackles on his way to tying the game at 7-7.

On the ensuing drive, the Knights drove down inside the Mob 5-yard line. On second and goal, while stretching the ball out for the end zone, it appeared that the Knights had fumbled and The Mob had recovered the ball on the 1-yard line. However, the referees ruled that the player’s knee was down.

Two plays later, Mahoney connected with receiver Patrick Kelly in the endzone for the game winning score.

“The team played great as a whole.” Kelly said. “We need to keep sticking to a simple offense and establishing the running game.”

O’Neill running back Dave Zimmer left the game in the second quarter because of an injury and did not return.

“Dave is the heart and soul of our team,” Zimmer’s backup Tom Friel said. “He’s part of a mix of fire and passion we have. If he would have played, maybe there would have been a different result.”

O’Neill plays Stanford next week, while Keenan has a bye before playing Stanford on Nov. 2. Both teams need wins against the Griffins to improve their playoff positioning.

Dillon 7, Stanford 6

Dillon got its revenge Sunday as the Big Red triumphed 7-6 over the defending Interhall champion Stanford.

Stanford, who defeated Dillon in the playoffs last season, got on the scoreboard first, late in the second quarter when quarterback Brian Salvi connected with wide out Tony Rizzo, who made a diving effort to get into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.

The Griffins, who were without their injured kicker, attempted a 2-point conversion that was stifled by the Dillon defensive line, and the half would end with the score 6-0 in favor of Stanford.

A huge play by Dillon cornerback Brian Shafer late in the third quarter shifted the momentum and left the Griffins deflated. Under pressure, Salvi threw up a pass that was intercepted by Shafer, who returned it 25 yards for the touchdown.

Dillon captain Chris Cugliari was thrilled that his defense was able to make the big play.

“I’m glad that our defense was up to the task,” he said.

Kicker Rick Beuke converted the extra point and Stanford looked stunned as it came on the field for the start of the fourth quarter trailing 7-6.

After going three-and-out, the Griffins lined up to punt, but Dillon’s special teams came up with a huge play. Jordan Smith broke through the line and with a leaping effort, blocked the punt to give Dillon prime field position and time on its side.

“Special teams was definitely the key to the game for us,” Cugliari said.

The Big Red kept the ball on the ground and burned precious minutes off of the clock.

By the time Stanford took over, there was a little over one minute remaining but the Griffins couldn’t mount a last minute charge.

On the first play of the drive, it was Smith who again broke though the Griffin’s line and knocked the ball out of Salvi’s hand, and Dillon recovered to seal the victory.

After last year’s overtime playoff loss, the victory was especially sweet for the Big Red.

“We felt like we should have had them both times last year,” Smith said. “To finally come out and get it done feels great.”

It was a tough loss to swallow for Stanford captain John Burke, but he saw no reason to complain about his team’s performance.

“We had a couple lapses in concentration,” he said. “Other than that I thought we played a very good game.”