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Pyros come up just shy of first win against Chaos

Charlie Spokes, Kyle Smith, and Shane Steinberg | Wednesday, October 8, 2008

After a game of tough defensive football, Cavanaugh and Pasquerilla East ended up just where they started – all tied up.

Cavanaugh (2-1-2) opened the scoring in the first half as captain and quarterback Katie Dunn completed three passes en route to a 7-yard touchdown scramble.

Pasquerilla East (0-4-1) responded with a methodical touchdown drive led by quarterback Caitlyn Lynch that included a key fourth down conversion around midfield.

“All they could do was throw little shovel passes,” Dunn said. “We’ll give that to them all day.”

A failed 2-point conversion by the Pyros left the score at 6-6 as the game headed into halftime after a final Cavanaugh drive to end the half.

An uneventful second half came to an end as Cavanaugh turned the ball over at the 8-yard line with eight seconds remaining.

“We tried to put in a couple of new plays before the game, but they just didn’t work out,” Dunn said.

PE was happy with its strong defensive showing in its first non-loss of the season.

“The defense stepped up tonight and made some key stops,” Pyros captain Tara Pillai said. “It was great to hold them to six points.”

Dunn pointed to the Chaos’ stingy defense as the reason for their success.

“The defense played well, led by Gina Paitta with two sacks,” Dunn said.

Both teams were content after the game, but ready to move forward.

“A win would’ve been great because Cavanaugh is a good team,” Pillai said. “But we’re looking forward to our last game on Sunday and hopefully we get the win.”

Afterwards, Dunn was quick to stress the importance of remaining focused.

“We’re going to take one game at a time and next up is the position games on Sunday to decide the four teams that go to the playoffs,” Dunn said.

Howard 26, McGlinn 19

Howard put itself in prime position for a playoff spot with a 26-19 victory over McGlinn on Tuesday night.

The Shamrocks (3-2) burst out of the gates as quarterback Sarah deGroot connected with Kathleen Stanley on a fade route from 15 yards.

But on the resulting series, the Ducks (2-2-1) would answer. On fourth-and-18, quarterback Kayla Bishop completed a touchdown pass, knotting the game at seven.

Throughout the game, both teams relied heavily on their aerial attacks to move the ball. Bishop was especially happy with her receivers who were consistently able to make crucial catches.

“Our offense definitely did a good job executing,” she said. “Our receivers did a really good job of catching the ball.”

As the first half came to a close, Bishop connected with Kristen Jeffries for a 55-yard touchdown. The PAT was unsuccessful, and the Ducks led 13-7 at halftime.

On McGlinn’s first drive after the break, deGroot and Stanley didn’t wait long to connect yet again. This time it was a 19-yard grab by Stanley to tie the game at 13.

Howard coach Kyle Carter was blown away by Stanley’s talent.

“She’s got the best hands of any girl I’ve seen out here,” he said.

Howard reclaimed the lead on their next drive, as Bishop again found Jeffries for a 20-yard touchdown, and the Ducks led 20-13.

With five minutes to go, Howard was still within striking distance, but Howard’s Laura Giezeman intercepted a tipped ball, and the Ducks put the game out of reach on the following drive with another touchdown.

Carter was especially happy with the Ducks’ performance, which he thinks they can build upon going into the playoffs.

“This is the best we’ve played the entire year,” he said, “This is the first of our big games that we didn’t make any mental mistakes.”

McGlinn managed to score late but didn’t have the time to muster a second half rally.

Although the Shamrocks moved the ball well in the middle of the field throughout the game, they struggled in the red zone, an issue Coach Keith Creasy knows will need to be addressed for the playoffs.

“That’s been our struggle all year long,” he said. “That’s going to be our main focus in practice and [in] getting ready for the playoffs.”

Pasquerilla West 8, Lyons 0

With the rain pouring down, a first half touchdown catch by receiver Alyssa Moya proved to be the difference as Pasquerilla West clinched a playoff spot with an 8-0 win over Lyons.

PW appeared better prepared than Lyons (3-2) for the rainy conditions, incorporating an effective man-to-man defense without much blitzing, which led to three key interceptions.

Although they ran only a few designed blitzes, defensive lineman Jordan Johnson was a bulldozer at the line, at times easily breaking through three blockers to make a play in the backfield. She finished the game with two sacks. In addition, PW ran an effective running and short passing offense, with quarterback Cara Davies running for numerous first downs.

Lyons struggled throughout much of the game to put anything together on offense. With long passes out of the question due to the weather, they turned to the short pass game and incorporated some runs into the mix, but not as effectively as PW.

In the end three interceptions, especially a late red zone pick, ended Lyons hopes of overcoming their single touchdown deficit.

Heading into Tuesday’s game, PW found itself in a do-or-die situation.

“We came out here knowing what our situation was and we did exactly what we needed to do,” Purple Weasel coach Justin Betz said.

“Now we’re in the playoffs as an underdog and we like our position. We’ve been underestimated by our opponents, but we only lost one game this season which was a tight game. We’re looking forward to proving ourselves,” PW coach Derek Woznicki said.