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Men’s Interhall: Alumni looks to gain momentum for playoffs

Sam Gans, Matthew Defranks, Kelsey Manning and Adam Llorens | Thursday, October 14, 2010

Alumni and Knott square off on Thursday in a game that may seem like it may not have a lot riding on it. The two teams, however, could not disagree more with that notion.

Alumni (3-0) has already clinched a spot in the playoffs and Knott (0-3) has been eliminated from postseason contention. Both teams, however, think winning Thursday’s contest is critical.

Alumni is hoping to earn a victory not only for a better seed, but also to build momentum heading into the playoffs. The Dawgs wish to get better in certain key areas, as well.

“We definitely want to win the game,” Alumni junior captain Dan Dansdill said. “We definitely want to score points and try to get a good seed, but at the same time we’re really looking for an opportunity to improve. 4-0 is that much better than 3-0, so we’re focused on getting a win first and foremost.”

Alumni used a strong running game to pull off an upset win against two-time defending champion and previously unbeaten Siegfried last Sunday. Despite the fact that Alumni moves from playing a perennial power one week to a winless team the next, Dansdill does not anticipate the Dawgs will have a letdown game.

“I’m actually not too worried about [us coming out flat],” Dansdill said. “I feel like our guys are going to show up. I feel like they are going to have their game faces on.”

Knott, on the other hand, is playing for nothing but bragging rights. Though their postseason hopes are dashed, Juggerknotts junior captain Dan Shaffer said his team would come out with lots of heart, as they look to notch their first win.

“We’ve been trying to work as hard as we can throughout the season,” Shaffer said. “I don’t think it’s going to die off at all.”

Knott has not managed to score a touchdown yet this season. Coming off a bye, the Juggerknotts hope that the extra practice time can bring their struggling offense up to the level their strong defense has been playing at.

“We’ve been having trouble offensively and got to try to work that out,” Shaffer said. “Our defense hasn’t seemed to be doing poorly. We’re very proud of the defense.”

Knott and Alumni will battle in each team’s final regular season contest tonight at 7:30 pm at LaBar Fields.

Sorin vs. Carroll

When Carroll takes the field on Thursday night against Sorin, the Vermin will attempt to complete an undefeated regular season and claim the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs.

Fresh off a shutout win over Zahm, Carroll (3-0) brings in a high-powered offense averaging nearly 16 points per game that is led by talented freshmen in quarterback Jack Gardner and wide receiver Bobby Dorman.

“They’re both very talented and hard-working in practice and they step up on game day,” Carroll sophomore captain Keith Marrero said of his freshmen. “You just can’t say enough about their work ethic.”

These freshmen form just part of the Carroll squad that has no seniors on the roster.

“They’ll always be freshmen to us,” Marrero said. “But everyone contributes equally on this team.”

To counter Carroll’s youth movement, Sorin (2-1) sports a couple of dynamic sophomores on offense — quarterback Ted Spinelli and wide receiver Ryan Robinson — who connected on two touchdown passes in Sorin’s last game against Zahm.

Despite that win, the Otters captain Bobby Sullivan said his team has resorted to unorthodox practice methods this week in preparation for this game.

“We’ve been using mouse traps during practice,” Sullivan said. “It helps keep us on our toes [on offense].”

Sorin, running an offense that combines elements of the spread, option, wildcat and pro-style offenses, has scored 52 points on the season — second in the men’s league to Dillon.

“We want to put the ball in the end zone every single time,” Sullivan said.

Carroll, however, believes their defense — a unit that has not given up a point since their first game — is strong enough to tilt the game in their favor.

“We’ve played against run-heavy offenses and pass-heavy offenses but theirs is pretty balanced,” Marrero said. “But I think we can play good defense and contain them.”

While this game is just for seeding for the Vermin, the Otters still must secure their spot in the postseason, where a rematch is plausible.

“We’re both pretty good teams, atop our division and it’s possible we meet them in the playoffs,” Sullivan said.

This will also be the first night game of the year for both teams.

“[The lights] will definitely be cool, very reminiscent of high school games,” Marrero said. “It will be a lot of fun.”

Sorin and Carroll will take the field to close their seasons at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at LaBar Fields.

Zahm vs. St. Edward’s

St. Edward’s and Zahm will battle for pride as the two teams close disappointing seasons with the annual “Battle for the Shadow” match.

For the Zahmbies (0-3), Sunday’s loss to Carroll clearly had no effect on their indomitable optimism.

“I’m feeling pretty good about [Thursday’s game],” senior linebacker, captain and coach Mark Pomerenke said. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to field a team, but hopefully we do and we win.”

The Zahmbies have been working to improve their offense throughout the season, and Pomerenke said Thursday night could be their breakthrough game. Since it will be the Zahm seniors’ last game, he said the upperclassmen hope to pass the torch to the young Zahmbies.

“We have a lot of inspired young kids on the team and I think they’re going to step up,” Pomerenke said. “There are only a few years of interhall football left ahead of them, and interhall is where dreams are made.”

The Gentlemen (1-2) on the other hand have had their confidence rocked this season. With multiple injuries, difficulty executing offensively and a pair of upsetting losses, St. Edward’s is not in the position it had hoped for. Junior captain Jay Mathes cited scoring points and not making mental mistakes as two of the Gentlemen’s biggest obstacles this season.

“I don’t know if we could beat air right now,” Mathes said. “We need to score a lot of points against Zahm to make it to the playoffs, so we’ll have to play our best football of the year.”

Although their last contest looked more promising for the Gentlemen with the return of junior wide receiver Joey Ricioli, their passing game was still not quite there. On Thursday St. Edward’s will face yet another obstacle.

“We actually lost another receiver to a knee injury so that will probably affect us,” Mathes said. “We will probably stick with the run game more than we would like to.”

As a last resort to help them pull out their first win, the Zahmbies have been spending a lot of time in the film room to prepare for St. Edward’s.

“We have been watching Rudy a lot,” Pomerenke said.

The spirited rivalry between the two dorms will take place at 8:30 p.m under the Thursday night lights at LaBar Fields.

Morrissey vs. Siegfried

In a highly anticipated match-up, Siegfried will square off against Morrissey tonight with playoff implications on the line.

The Ramblers (2-1) lost in a tough battle last week against Alumni. Unfortunately for Siegfried, the game was not the only thing they lost. A plethora of starters, including senior quarterback Matt Meinert, were injured, resulting in an interesting game plan for the Ramblers heading into their biggest game so far this season.

“We have been making sure the new starters get more reps now that they have been taking over for the injured players,” Siegfried senior left tackle Michael McDonnell said. “It is a matter of chemistry between our players. A couple of our guys lacked focus so we need to step it up against Morrissey.”

One of these important changes for the Ramblers will be moving established sophomore running back David Whitmore to quarterback.

“We are going to approach this game as a win or go home scenario. So our playoffs begin Thursday night against Morrissey,” McDonnell said.

For the Manor (2-1), the team hopes to ride their high tide of momentum to a win on Thursday.

Morrissey sophomore captain Alex Oloriz said the team plans on chanting, “Eat your beans Rory, eat your beans,” multiple times during the game. The cheer is an ode to one of Morrissey’s most consistent players, junior kicker Rory Carroll, who came up huge for the Manor last week by scoring all of their 6 points, including a pressure-filled 39-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

“We are counting on Rory again this week to step up when the time calls for him to do so,” Oloriz said. “We need to control the ball and keep their run-oriented offense off the field as much as possible. Our defense must come up with three-and-outs throughout the course of the game.”

Doth teams will be treating this as a must-win game as they step onto the LaBar Fields at 7:30 p.m.