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Women’s Interhall Football: Turnovers lead Finest to blowout win over Lions

Matthew DeFranks, Andrew Gastellum, Tori Roeck, Kristen Lasak, Katie Heit and Joseph Monardo | Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Before their team’s critical game against Lyons Sunday, the Farley coaching staff offered players a deal — return an interception for a touchdown, receive a trip to Dairy Queen. Farley’s defense did that and more in a dominating victory over Lyons (1-3) Sunday evening at LaBar Fields.

Farley junior linebacker Katie Smith intercepted Lyons quarterback Christina Bramanti just before halftime and ran 25 yards down the sideline untouched to the end zone to put her team up 19-0 — and earn herself some Dairy Queen.

Smith’s takeaway was the first of three in a row forced by Farley (3-1). The Finest capitalized on three interceptions, scoring 20 points off turnovers.

The Farley offense, however, was not overshadowed by its outstanding defense. Senior quarterback Emily Murphy threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, helping the Finest to a season-high in points scored.

“Our offensive line blocked really well and was able to give me time and our receivers were really fast in their routes so they blew past the defense,” Murphy said.

Senior wide receiver Kelly Weber was Murphy’s favorite target on the day, catching two touchdown passes and moving the chains throughout the game.

Senior captain and wide receiver Molly Casanova caught the other touchdown pass from Murphy, who said her team is in a good frame of mind for a playoff run.

“I think that we have a lot of momentum now,” Murphy said. “We’ll carry that over to the playoffs and hopefully make it to the Stadium finally.”

The Lions offense didn’t click until it was too late. Late in the second half, after getting only their third first down of the game, Bramanti threw a 45-yard touchdown, breaking up the shutout. Despite finishing the season 1-3, the Lions will look back at a 2010 season in which they scored 38 more points than 2009 and won their first game in two years.

While Lyons’ season has ended, Farley will rest up with a bye week before beginning playoff competition.

Pangborn 19, Pasquerilla East 0

Pangborn senior quarterback Gabby Tate looked nearly unstoppable in a win over Pasquerilla East.

Tate threw for 154 yards and ran for another 87 with two passing touchdowns and one rushing score, leading the Phoxes (2-1) to a shutout victory.

“We had a really good week in practice this week and we can definitely attribute our performance to the coaches,” Tate said. “It’s good to get our confidence up, especially knowing how important this game is to our season.”

From the first snap the Phoxes dominated, opening the game with a quick rushing attack that concluded with an eight-yard passing touchdown from Tate to sophomore wideout Kristin Ruekert. After being held on their second drive, the Phoxes rallied behind their quarterback, scoring on a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Tate.

Meanwhile the Pasquerilla East (1-2) offense, which has no offensive points in its last two games, was dormant throughout the game, only accumulating two first downs and 10 total yards. The Pyros punted six times and turned the ball over once, hardly ever venturing into Pangborn territory.

“Our offensive focus was missing today and it affected us on both sides of the ball,” junior captain Kristin Mannion said.

The Pyros, who have relied heavily on their defense this season, struggled to find a way to stop the relentless Pangborn offense that accumulated 241 yards of total offense. The Phoxes put the game away early in the second half, with Tate connecting with junior receiver Liz Pawlak for a 40-yard touchdown.

The Pyros will look to revive their playoff hopes next week against defending champions Howard while the Phoxes will face Lewis in the final week of the regular season.

Lewis 25, Badin 6

Led by its talented offense, Lewis improved its playoff hopes and sealed Badin’s season as winless in a decisive victory.

The Chicks (2-1) marched down the field on their first drive to score a touchdown on a long pass play to freshman wide receiver Colleen Haller, her first of three touchdowns on the day. Haller scored her second touchdown off a toss from sophomore quarterback Connaught Blood, and her third touchdown came early in the second half off a long pass from Blood.

The Bullfrogs (0-4) struggled in the beginning of the game, turning some successful plays into long gains, but failed to convert them into points. However, they came back after halftime more energized and ready to score.

Freshman wide receiver Katie Martinez scored a touchdown on a controversial play that left the Lewis defense puzzled. Badin’s quarterback threw the initial pass to a different wide receiver, who then tossed the ball to Martinez at the same time a Lewis defender grabbed her flags, so the Chicks thought the play was dead. Nevertheless, Martinez ran in for the touchdown from midfield without any defenders pursuing her to give the Bullfrogs their only points of the game.

Although they ended their season without any victories, the Bullfrogs still enjoyed their last game.

“We are disappointed in our season, but we had a lot of fun,” Badin junior captain and offensive lineman Melissa Guinan said. “We goofed around in this game. After the score, our offense played defense and our defense played offense.”

Guinan looks forward to next season and hopes to start early and be consistent in pursuit of playing in the Stadium.

The Chicks’ hopes for reaching this year’s championship game are still alive because of their triumph over Badin.

“We put our plays together and used our offensive talents to win,” Haller said. “We have a good shot at getting to the playoffs, and in the next game we can prove that we’re a good team.”

The Chicks will take on Pangborn next Sunday, while Badin’s season is over.

Pasquerilla West 32, Ryan 7

After dominating the competition all season, Pasquerilla West defeated Ryan to successfully complete its bid for a perfect regular season.

The Purple Weasels (4-0) wasted no time as they opened the game with an interception. Under the leadership of senior quarterback Simone Bigi, Pasquerilla West scored three unanswered touchdowns in the first half.

“We were missing a few players, but made some last-minute adjustments that ended up working out great,” senior linebacker and co-captain Libby Koerbel said. “Our defense started the game with an interception and our offense picked up momentum in regards to both running and passing, so the tone of the game was set from the beginning.”

The Purple Weasel defense refused to give Ryan (1-2), led by sophomore quarterback Maya Pillai, a chance to show its prowess, and held the Wildcats to only a few first downs in the first half.

The second half began with another interception and Pasquerilla West quickly scored two touchdowns.

The Purple Weasels appeared to be on the verge of a shutout victory in their final game.

Despite the score, Ryan’s defense and offense came out stronger in the second half.

With little time left in the game, Pillai connected with junior slot receiver Brianna Curtis for a long touchdown to break the shutout. In the end, Pasquerilla West put the finishing touch on a perfect regular season and Ryan was left to look forward to the next game without being discouraged.

“It was a tough loss, but we were glad to finish strong,” Pillai said. “We would like to bounce back from this and put up a win against Welsh Family next week.”

With its regular season completed, Pasquerilla West will prepare to take on new teams in the playoffs and attack each game with the same determination and skill showcased this season.

“Going into the playoffs undefeated was our first goal,” Koerbel said. “As we prepare for the playoffs, we’ll have our second goal of winning the championship in mind. We are pumped for the playoffs. We are confident in our abilities and will play each game with the intention to win.”

Ryan takes on Welsh Family next week, while Pasquerilla West has a bye before beginning its playoff run.

Welsh Family 20, Walsh 6

Fresh off a disappointing and controversial loss due to a forfeit, Welsh Family defeated an equally motivated Walsh team Sunday to put itself back in playoff contention.

After a tough loss the week before, Walsh (0-3) started off the game with spirits high, yelling enthusiastically while on defense and making every attempt to gain an early lead. But the defense had trouble defending the Whirlwinds (1-2) passing game led by senior quarterback Vicky Moreno. Welsh Family scored two quick touchdowns in the first half, taking an early lead.

After battling for the rest of the first half, the Wild Women managed to score a touchdown just before halftime, but were unable to complete the extra point, bringing the score at the break to 13-6.

Welsh Family began the second half of the game with the ball and, with the help of three long throws from Moreno, managed to score its third touchdown of the matchup. In the end, the Walsh defense was no match for the prolific passing attack.

“We’re definitely disappointed,” senior captain Lindsay Schanzer said. “We had a lot of girls missing today, which was hard, but we gave it our all.”

Whirlwinds senior captain Cari Pick was happy with the obvious improvement in her team this week, especially with Moreno playing in her first game since an injury at the beginning of the season.

“We are honestly really happy with our win,” Pick said. “We really feel like we’re getting back into the swing of things and this is where we should have been at the beginning of the season.”

Walsh will next meet McGlinn while Welsh Family takes on Ryan Sunday.

Cavanaugh 14, Breen Phillips 0

Cavanaugh displayed its proficiency on both sides of the ball as the Chaos completed their perfect season with a win against Breen-Phillips.

Having shut out Breen-Phillips (0-4) en route to a win in the first week of the season, Cavanaugh (4-0) did so once again in the season’s final week to secure a playoff bid.

Both teams relied heavily on their defenses, as both offenses were unable to consistently move the ball in the first half. Fittingly, the first big play was a defensive one, as Cavanaugh senior linebacker Mo Mathias intercepted a pass from Breen-Phillips senior quarterback Gabriela Moriel. Following the interception, junior running back Brittni Alexander took a direct snap and broke multiple tackles on a long touchdown run for the first score of the game.

The Chaos added their final score of the game later in the second half on a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Megan Robertson to senior wide receiver and captain Holly Hinz. Cavanaugh used a variety of play types to give Breen-Phillips a lot of different looks.

“We just have a lot of plays in our book,” Hinz said. “We just try to use the ones that we think are going to work on a given day.”

After wrapping up their perfect season, the Chaos wait expectantly for the playoffs. Hinz knows that if her team continues to execute, they could very well wind up playing for a championship.

“We had a great season, 4-0, so we are super excited about that,” Hinz said. “We are just ready to get going with the playoffs.”

On the opposite end of the winning spectrum sits Breen-Phillips, who closed out a winless season.

Despite their inability to win games this year, the Babes appreciate the season they had.

“It was definitely a lot of bonding, a lot of fun,” senior defensive lineman Megan Skinner said. “But we also played really hard and played really strong the whole time.”

Breen-Phillips will look to come back stronger next year, while Cavanaugh awaits their first playoff game.