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Men’s Interhall: Siegfried and Alumni face off in battle of unbeatens

Kelsey Manning, Kristen Lasak, David Kenney, Megan Golen and Adam Llorens | Friday, October 8, 2010

It will be a battle to remain undefeated when the Blue League’s top two teams, Siegfried and Alumni, face off this Sunday. With Siegfried coming off a dominating win over Knott and Alumni besting Duncan by a touchdown last week, both teams are feeling confident.

“We’ll always be confident. You never want to walk in not confident,” Rambler senior captain Michael McDonnell said.

“However, [Alumni] does have a very dynamic offense, which is actually intimidating to look at. We are not going to underestimate them and we will try to mentally prepare properly for this game.”

After a slow start on offense, the Ramblers are positioned for a stellar second half of the season. Their offense looked much more consistent against Knott last week with help from an improved offensive line and powerful running game. McDonnell, however, believes defense will be the focus this time around.

“The key is going to be on our defensive side of the ball. We have gotten compliments on our defense, but I still think there is a lot of room to improve. We need to make sure we don’t miss tackles and take them down,” he said.

The Dawgs hope to keep rolling on offense with a disciplined strategy led by freshman quarterback Will Cronin. On the other side of the ball, Alumni has only surrendered one touchdown in two games, and is hoping to keep the pressure on the Rambler offense. The Dawgs are energized for a titanic regular-season matchup.

“Our guys are really excited going into this week,” Cronin said. “Siegfried has had success in the past and is playing well again this year. This will be a telling game but everyone on our team is up to the challenge.”

Defensively, Alumni has only allowed one touchdown in two games thus far, and is hoping to keep the pressure on the Rambler offense.

“The key will be stopping Siegfried’s great running game because I am confident our offense can put some points on the board,” said Dawg junior captain Dan Dansdill. “The run game has worked for us the past two weeks but I have faith that Cronin can throw the ball downfield if necessary.”

In a defensive battle with an undefeated record on the line, Siegfried and Alumni are slated to kick off at 2 p.m. Sunday at Riehle Fields.

Carroll vs. Zahm

Carroll looks to keep its perfect record intact this week as the Vermin take on Zahm.

Carroll (3-0) comes into the game looking strong on both sides of the ball, partially as a result of an influx of freshman talent and enthusiasm. Zahm (0-2) looks to show Carroll that it has more than just a tough, spirited defense after being shut out in its first two games.

Both teams have been looking to target weak areas of their game in practice. Carroll has looked strong with freshman quarterback Jack Gardner at the helm, but the Vermin seek to improve on finishing their offensive drives in the red zone.

With the ultimate goal of winning the championship in the stadium in mind, the Vermin have worked hard to continually improve all aspects of their play.

“In practice we’ve been stressing the importance of getting better every day and making sure that we aren’t taking any minute on the field too lightly,” junior center and defensive end Mitch Speer said. “Last year, we had a great first couple of weeks of the season, and we tailed off and played miserably in the end. This year we want to change that.”

Zahm has also been working hard to improve its all-around game, but it has also focused on the mental game as well. Zahm looks to shore things up offensively as senior linebacker and coach Mark Pomerenke will step off the field on offense and call plays from the sideline instead of the huddle. The Zahmbies will also incorporate some unconventional approaches.

“Most of the preparation for the week has been mental,” Pomerenke said. “I have had my running back coach, Colin Casey, watch ‘The Little Engine that Could’ every night before bed and have asked fellow linebacker Greg Allare to listen to nothing but Pantera until the game.”

After much preparation, both teams remain confident about their chances on Sunday.

“We hope to come away with a win on Sunday against Zahm,” Speer said. “We know that, especially in dorm football, records don’t matter one bit. One little miscue and the game could be lost. Our goal is to stay focused on the current opponent and to do the little things right.”

Pomerenke echoed that sentiment.

“We are optimistic about our chances,” he said. “We have been missing a lot of players lately, and we have been practicing hard at showing up.”

Carroll takes on Zahm at 2 p.m. at Rhiele Fields on Sunday.

Fisher vs. St. Edward’s

Fisher and St. Edward’s are filled with determination going into this Sunday’s battle between the two squads.

The Gentlemen (1-1) have their eyes on a return to the Stadium and are determined to get redemption for a loss two weeks ago to Carroll.

“We weren’t on our game against Carroll and our injuries and lack of practice played a big role in our loss,” St. Ed’s captain and junior running back/linebacker Jay Mathes said.

This week the Gentlemen plan on turning the tide.

“We looked a lot better in practice this week,” Mathes said. “We’re planning on going out there and playing our best ball against Fisher.”

The Fishermen (1-2) are also determined, but not for redemption.

“We want to get a big win going into next year,” ssenior captain and halfback Michael McMahon said. “We plan to [dominate] and win by a lot of points. It will cap off a regular season that our program has made big improvements in.”

The Gentlemen had a tough time getting their offense moving against Carroll. The running game in particular sputtered and was not able to gain momentum. Senior quarterback Matt Abeling will have an additional weapon this weekend in junior wide receiver Joey Ricioli, who will return this week from a hamstring injury. The Gentlemen believe he will be a spark for their offensive attack against Fisher.

Fisher’s offense feels like they are up to the challenge against the St. Edward’s defense.

“We have a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball, but offensively we are led by Junior quarterback Pat Hertinstein,” McMahon said. “We are excited to get to practice this week and get ready for St. Ed’s.”

One of the offensive weapons for Fisher is freshman Joe Paggi, whom McMahon believes is having a great season thus far, and he’s having a big impact on the improvement of the program. Paggi will face off against St. Edward’s defensive lineman Jose Carranza who, according to Mathes, “dominates the line.”

The two down-but-not-out squads go head to head this Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields.

Dillon vs. Stanford

The battle between the Big Red and the Griffins should be hotly contested right from the start as Dillon and Stanford both look to score early to secure a league title and an automatic bid in the 2010 playoffs.

Dillon (2-0) has defeated O’Neill and Keenan in thrillers so far this season. The Big Red trailed at halftime in both games, only to come back in the second half of both games and steal the victories.

“Even though we’re 2-0 we have a lot of stuff to work on. The first two games we didn’t start off as well as we wanted to, especially offensively, a lot of penalties and stuff like that,” Dillon sophomore coach Lee Haruno said. “Mainly we want to play smarter football, more disciplined football. We want to be a team that competes for the whole game and not just the second half.”

Stanford has also faced problems early on the offensive side of the ball in their previous games. After recording victories over Keenan and Keough with two scores in the final two minutes, the team captain believes the Griffings must improve their red zone offense in order to remain undefeated.

“We’re looking to improve on converting our red zone opportunities. When we get down toward the endzone we want to make sure we get some points out of it,” senior quarterback Tony Rizzo said.

Rizzo believes that in order to find success in the red zone, a solid performance from their offensive line is crucial.

“On offense the key is going to be our offensive line. I think our offensive line is going to be pretty important in this game,” he said.

Dillon is aware of Stanford’s offensive firepower, and they hope their veterans will take leadership in defending the undefeated Griffins.

“They’ve really put up some points. Defensively I think it will be a challenge. We will try to contain their offense, but I think we’ve got guys who will be up for that challenge,” Lee said.

“We’ve got good senior leadership. We’ve got guys who are really passionate and competitive, so we’ve just got to channel that in the right ways.”

For Stanford, this game is more than just another victory.

“We’re 2-0 right now, and our goal and our plan is to stay undefeated and go all the way to the championship and win,” Rizzo said. “We’re not just looking to make the playoffs. This year we are looking to bring the championship back to Stanford.”

Stanford will take on Dillon Sunday at 3 p.m. at Riehle Field.

Duncan vs. Morrissey

The 2010 Duncan Highlanders are on a mission to become the first team in hall history to make the playoffs. To accomplish this unprecedented task, they will have to defeat an underrated Morrissey squad this weekend.

Duncan (1-2) had a tough game last week, as they lost to an undefeated Alumni team 14-6. With their final game looming, Highlander junior captain Paul Scheel has not lost confidence in his team.

“During our game with Alumni, we had many lapses on defense,” he said. “Our defense must come up huge for us to have a shot at Morrissey.”

The Highlanders will rely on strong play from junior middle linebacker Brett Leahy and sophomore defensive end Chris Herlihy against the Manor. Additionally, Scheel noted junior offensive lineman Steve Bruns must use his toughness and experience for the Highlanders to have any chance.

“We are pretty down after losing a very winnable game this past weekend,” Scheel said. “We must come back and get a win against Morrissey. We want to be the first team in Duncan history to make the playoffs.”

For the Manor (1-1), physicality and speed are central to both their defensive and offensive game. Morrissey has had a week to think about their loss to Alumni two weeks ago.

“During our last game, Alumni outplayed us by using their physicality throughout the course of the game,” sophomore Morrissey captain Alex Oloriz said. “We must use that same style of play against Duncan.”

Morrissey’s two key players are junior Tom Neilz and sophomore Sean Bauer, who are both two-way offensive linemen.

The outcome of this game is crucial to both teams in their quest to play in the championship game on the fabled grounds of Notre Dame Stadium.

Game time is 1 p.m. this Sunday at Riehle Fields.