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



Dillon and Sorin to meet in championship rematch

Mike Monaco | Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not once has the BCS National Championship been a rematch from the previous year. Only once in the history of the Super Bowl has there been a rematch from the previous year. Sunday’s interhall football championship is exactly that: a rematch of Sorin and Dillon.

No. 5 Dillon (5-1) is excited to get another shot at a title, after losing last year’s championship in a heartbreaking 7-6 overtime loss, junior captain Will Salvi said.

“I love the fact that we’re playing Sorin again in the championship because it gives us a chip on our shoulder,” Salvi said. “It’s great to play them again and they’re a good team. They obviously beat us last year and we remember [that] pretty well. And of course it’s always fun to play in [Notre Dame Stadium].”

Meanwhile, No. 3 Sorin (5-0-1) notices the similarities between last year’s playoffs and this year’s and is naturally looking for the same outcome, junior captain Ted Spinelli said.

“It’s pretty remarkable the way the bracket worked out,” Spinelli said. “The semifinals [this year] were exactly the same matchups as last year too. And we ended up winning by the same margin [in both years]. We like what things are looking like as far as repeating.”

The Otters clinched another championship berth by beating Alumni in a 3-2 nail-biter. The three-point output was a season low for the Otters. Spinelli, the Otters’ quarterback, said the offense needs to elevate its performance relative to the magnitude of the game.

“We feel we have a pretty good game plan in place,” Spinelli said. “It just comes down to going out there and doing it. When you’re playing in a venue like Notre Dame Stadium you sort of have to play up to your environment. Balance is key on offense and we’ve been running the ball well, but if we can air it out we’ll definitely do that as well.”

The Big Red, who advanced to the finals with a 7-6 win over top-seeded Siegfried, have the tough task of defending a prolific Otter offense. However, with four shutouts on the year and only 20 total points allowed, Dillon features a solid defense that figures to match up well with the Sorin offense.

“They obviously have a good offense but we’ve faced good offenses before,” Salvi said. “We just faced and beat No. 1 Siegfried. It doesn’t matter who you play. We’re going to feel like we can beat them anyways.”

Dillon boasts a strong offense of its own led by sophomore quarterback Kevin Fink, junior running back Terry Howard and Salvi, who said he hopes to find the right mix between the run and the pass on Sunday.

“The last two games we haven’t been as balanced as we’d like to be,” Salvi said. “Against Sorin, a good team, we have to be more balanced. We’ve been very strong running the ball lately but just that’s not going to win you games. You can’t rely on one dimension.”

The Otters are aware of their opponent’s recent rushing success and are prepared to stop it. To do so, Sorin will rely on a sturdy defense, highlighted by sophomore defensive linemen Dan Yi and Taylor Nutter, to shut down Howard and company.

“We feel that our run defense is pretty stout,” Spinelli said. “We know they like to run the ball so we’re going to first stop the run and then be prepared to stop whatever else they have to throw at us.”

Both squads believe Sunday’s championship will come down to big plays and mistakes.

“The things we’ve learned in interhall are that playing good defense, minimizing mistakes, and making one or two big plays usually wins the game,” Spinelli said.

Salvi echoed a similar sentiment.

“Interhall is classic,” Salvi said. “The way these these games go is one big play or one big mistake and that’s the game. I think whoever limits big plays and limits the mistakes is going to win.”

Dillon will look for sweet revenge while Sorin will attempt to repeat Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Notre Dame Stadium.