The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Men’s Interhall Football: Top seed Dillon to take on neighbor Fisher

Kelsey | Friday, October 29, 2010

There will be no neighborly love this Sunday as Fisher braves the vaunted defense of Dillon in the first round of playoff games.

As the regular season champion of not only the Green League but also all of interhall, No. 1-seed Dillon has been consistently dominant throughout the season, with increasing victory margins of 8, 8, 19, and 29.

Dillon’s methodical passing game, especially the combination of freshman quarterback Kevin Fink and sophomore wide receiver Will Salvi, has been the cornerstone of the Big Red’s offense. The duo has been known to remain on the field late after practice, and their effort showed throughout the regular season.

“[Fink and Salvi] play really well together,” senior captain Jordan Smith said. “We’ll definitely take our shots downfield and if it keeps working we’ll keep going to it.”

The Big Red’s defense has also proved formidable throughout the year. Coming off a shutout of Keough last week, the Dillon defense looks to keep up the intensity.

“Defensively we want to build off of last weeks game,” Smith said. “Defense came out really intense, flying around, hitting hard, celebrating after plays, and that’s what we want.”

Though Dillon’s strength on both sides of the ball is undeniable, No. 8 Fisher does not intend to go down without a fight. The Green Wave’s notoriously physical defense has hassled all its opponents throughout the season, particularly its tough blitzing. Though Fisher has faced some struggles offensively, its last game against St. Ed’s saw great improvement.

“Our offense started to click against St. Ed’s,” senior captain Michael McMahon said. “The key on Sunday will be having our offense work like it did against [St. Ed’s].”

As a team that has not earned a trip to the playoffs in three years, Fisher is approaching Sunday’s game with enthusiasm and confidence.

“[Dillon] is the number one seed but we’re not going to be scared by them,” McMahon said. “We’re excited and we’re not holding anything back because it’s playoff time. We’re happy to be back [in the playoffs] and I think we’re peaking at the right time.”

With the possibility of a major upset looming, Fisher will take on Dillon Sunday at 1 p.m.

Alumni vs. Carroll

The little dorm that could will begin their march to the Stadium this Sunday as Carroll will begin their playoff schedule against one of the most impressive teams of the 2010 season in Alumni.

The No. 6 seeded Vermin (3-1) completed an unlikely march to the playoffs behind a team with a roster composed of more than one-half freshmen players. Carroll’s new philosophy of hard work and youth has them in position to upset some bigger dorms in the postseason.

“Good commitment to practices and a solid work ethic has made a big difference this year,” sophomore captain Keith Marrero said.

Carroll’s freshman quarterback Jake Gardner, along with freshman receiver and cornerback Bobby Dorman, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the opening game, will look to continue the Vermin revival on Sunday. In addition, junior running back Nick Tammerine is another key to a multi-faceted offensive attack.

Meanwhile, the No. 3 seeded Dawgs (3-1) have come back from a down year in 2009, due largely to a strong core group of juniors taking leadership roles including junior captain and running back Dan Dansdill.

A Dawgs’ defense that surrendered a mere 14 points in four regular season games will look to counter the Carroll attack.

“We’re running the same defense we did in 2009, but leadership combined with strong freshman and sophomore editions have led to better execution,” Dansdill said.

On offense, the Dawgs run the triple option attack behind junior running backs Barrick Bollman and Dansdill, but freshman quarterback Will Cronin can also throw the occasional pass.

Both teams enter the game with sour tastes in their mouths from losses to end the regular season. Previously winless Knott upset Alumni in an 8-0 shutout, which was largely a meaningless game for the Dawgs with a playoff spot in hand.

Carroll, meanwhile, was blown out 20-2 by No. 2 seeded Sorin, who easily proved to be the Vermin’s toughest regular season test.

“We took [the loss] with a grain of salt,” Marrero said. “But at the same time we used it to improve some of our weaknesses in practice.”

The two strong squads will face off Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields.

Sorin vs. Morrissey

No. 2 seed Sorin and No. 7 seed Morrissey face off this weekend as the Manor attempts to pull off a first round upset and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Junior wide receiver Bobby Sullivan said the Otters (3-1) have been training all week in preparation for their battle against the Manor (2-2).

“We all stayed here last week to get ready for this. We did a lot of pool workouts underwater with a weighted ball,” Sullivan said. “So basically we’re just hoping we can stay afloat on Sunday.”

Sorin receiver Ryan Robinson said he heard the Manorites have also been busy in the weight room this week in hopes of upsetting Sorin.

“I heard they’ve been doing a lot of weightlifting and stuff,” he said.

Morrissey is anticipating strong performances by their freshmen.

“Early in the season we switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and that was a big switch for us because we’re a young team with a lot of quick kids who can hit hard,” Morrissey junior linebacker Tommy Montalbano said.

Sullivan, though, said the Otters were only aware of one young Manorite, and they weren’t even sure of his exact identity.

“We hear that they have a pretty good freshman,” Sullivan said. “We don’t know what position he plays, but they’ve been letting freshmen do the talking.”

The Otters’ special teams unit is due for a dominant performance with two exceptional kickers ready to lead the team.

“Special teams is going to carry Sorin all the way to the stadium,” sophomore kicker Connor Wathen said. “It’s all about the kicking game. They’ve got two great kickers, [myself] and [senior] Michael Browder.”

Morrissey is not studying the scouting report on Sorin, however, because their only concern is their own performance.

“We don’t know a whole lot about Sorin, but our business is to know about Morrissey,” Montalbano said. “I think we know what we’ve got, and we’re feeling pretty good going into Sunday.”

Morrissey also has not forgotten about their former teammate who is currently playing for Sorin.

“There’s an ex-Morrissey Manor-ite on Sorin,” sophomore safety and captain Alex Oloriz said. “We’ll be looking for him.”

The Otters and the Manor will face off Sunday at 2 p.m. at Riehle Fields.

Stanford vs. Siegfried

When Siegfried takes the field against Stanford this weekend, more than a mere playoff game will ride in the balance. With a successful playoff run – which begins against the Griffins – Siegfried can establish itself as a dynasty.

The No. 5 Ramblers (3-1) bring in with them the top defense in the men’s league, giving up just over 3 points per game. After pitching shutouts in their first two games, the Siegfried defense has allowed all their points in the past two games, including a loss to Alumni.

No. 4 Stanford (3-1), on the other hand, thrives on offense. The Griffins, led by senior quarterback and captain Tony Rizzo and junior wide receiver Griffin Naylor, average just under 16 points a game.

“We’re going to stick with what we’ve been doing all season long,” Rizzo said. “We really only struggled in one game all season so we’re keeping with our general strategy.”

Naylor is the main playmaker on offense and came up big last week with a touchdown catch and a big snag on a key fourth-down play.

“He’s a big player for us but I think we have a lot of big playmakers,” Rizzo said.

Siegfried senior left tackle and captain Michael McDonnell, however, believes in his strong defense, led by senior defensive lineman Pat Kelly.

“We’ve made a few personnel and scheme changes,” McDonnell said. “We are well aware of how potent [the] Stanford [offense] is and think our hard work and time in practice can help us finally stop them.”

Although the Ramblers are the two-time defending champions, this team has its own identity.

“We’re a different team than the last couple years,” McDonnell, who will be seeking to end his career with three straight titles, said. “We have a few guys back with experience but we have our own identity.”

While this will be the first official playoff game for both teams, each played in seemingly must-win games last week in order to secure their spot in the playoffs. Siegfried knocked off Morrissey while Stanford shut out O’Neill.

“It gave us a lot of confidence to win that game,” Rizzo said. “I’m happy we bounced back and now we want to prove that loss [to Dillon] was just a bad game.”

When Stanford’s unstoppable force meets Siegfried’s immovable object, sparks are sure to fly. Kick off is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Riehle Fields.