Men’s Interhall: Otters dominate Big Red
Observer Sports Writers | Tuesday, November 6, 2012
By MARY GREEN
In the past two seasons, No. 1 Sorin and No. 8 Dillon have met at Notre Dame Stadium in the championship game, splitting the series with one win apiece. This year, they faced off earlier in the postseason, and the Otters (5-0) took home the 14-0 victory Sunday to keep their undefeated season alive.
Both defenses held strong in the first quarter, but the Big Red (2-3) blinked first in the second stanza, giving up an 11-yard rushing touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion to Sorin senior captain and running back Ryan Robinson. The Otters led 8-0 going into halftime, a manageable deficit for a Dillon team missing three defensive starters, Dillon junior captain and quarterback Kevin Fink said.
“I thought we came out and played really physical,” Fink said. “We had guys playing in positions for the first time this year, but they came out and did it, playing hard and playing until the final whistle.”
Mental blunders were the story of the second half as both teams fumbled on their first possessions and Sorin was whistled for three penalties in a single drive. One of those infractions called back a touchdown, the second time an Otters mistake took points off the board.
“[We need to work on] mental mistakes,” Robinson said. “We made a lot of dumb penalties and turned the ball over, but we answered really well from those, so we’re happy about that.”
The Otters rebounded from those errors, scoring a second touchdown on a 23-yard pass from senior quarterback Ted Spinelli to Robinson to take a 14-0 lead.
With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Dillon’s comeback attempt ended with an interception by Sorin freshman linebacker Galvin Loughran.
“[The interception] really put us in a bad position, so the loss falls on me,” Fink said. “We had some opportunities, but at the end of the day, Sorin is a great football team.”
Robinson contributed 118 total yards of offense to lead his squad into the semifinals, and he said the Otters feel confident after keeping the Big Red off the scoreboard.
“[This shutout] is big,” ourselves on our defense, and we came out against a really good Dillon team that we lost to in the championship last year and shut them down, so we feel pretty good about it.”
Sorin will head to the semifinals and look to extend its winning streak against No. 4 Keough at 2:15 pm Sunday at LaBar Field.
Contact Mary Green at [email protected].
Keenan 14, Alumni 7
By SAMANTHA ZUBA
A dramatic touchdown and a timely interception made all the difference in No. 2 Keenan’s 14-7 victory over No. 7 Alumni on Sunday.
The Knights (4-0-1) and Dawgs (3-2) traded punts before Keenan pulled ahead with an electric 75-yard touchdown pass hauled in by junior receiver Jeremy Riche. Before the play, Keenan and Alumni had played stifling defense, batting away passes and keeping each other off balance on offense. Keenan senior captain and quarterback Andrew McDonough credited the defense for setting up the touchdown, which set the tone for the game.
“The defense did a good job,” McDonough said. “They got two stops to start us off on the right foot. [Riche] is a good receiver, and he ran a great route.”
The touchdown forced the Dawgs to battle from behind early. But Keenan pushed the score to 14-0 on a 15-yard pass to freshman receiver Aaron DiGenova, and Alumni failed to score in the first half.
Late in the fourth quarter, however, the Dawgs started to make a comeback. Alumni scored on a halfback pass to sophomore Ryan Buckley. Alumni’s defense then forced Keenan into a quick three-and-out and got the ball back with a minute left to play.
The Dawgs then drove into the red zone with a seven-yard scramble by junior quarterback Will Cronin, but the next pass was intercepted by Keenan senior defensive end Alex Green. The interception sealed the Knights’ victory and earned them a berth in the semifinals.
McDonough said Keenan was pleased with the win and is already looking forward to its next challenge against Knott.
“First let me say that Alumni is a great team,” McDonough said. “They played a great game. We’re excited to play Knott next week, and we know that will be another hard-hitting game.”
Alumni junior captain Tom O’Sullivan said that despite the loss, he is proud of Alumni’s season and is looking forward to next year.
“We had a great season,” O’Sullivan said. “I’m proud of how we battled back in this game. We came up a little short, but we have a lot of guys returning, and I’m excited about next year.”
Keenan will face No. 3 Knott in the semifinals Sunday at 1 pm on LaBar Field.
Contact Samantha Zuba at [email protected]
Keough 13, Siegfried 6
By CASEY KARNES
No. 4 Keough’s magical season continues as it squeaked by No. 5 Siegfried 13-6 Sunday.
Both teams scored on their opening drives, but what seemed like a potential shootout soon turned into a defensive battle. The game remained tied at six until Keough junior quarterback Seamus Donegan threw the game-winning, six-yard touchdown pass with under 30 seconds left.
“[On the last drive] we kind of stuck with the plays that had been working in the second half, our bread and butter,” Keough sophomore offensive lineman and captain Charlie Magiera said. “We knew we had to get it together, and just keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Keough (4-0-1) had previously scored on a 46-yard pass by Donegan on its first drive, and the Kangaroos kept up a solid mix of passing and running all game. Donegan finished with over 150 yards through the air.
However, Siegfried (3-2) quickly matched Keough’s first score as the Ramblers bullied their way down the field. Senior running back David Whitmore tallied most of the yards, but it was sophomore quarterback Nate Burggraf who dove over the pylon for the game-tying touchdown.
The Ramblers were unable to return to the end zone, however, because of a stifling Keough defense led by senior linebackers Andy Heck and Robby Toole.
“We played well, but [Keough] started blitzing their linebackers and stopping the run,” Burggraf said. “They just played well, so hats off to them.”
Both teams missed chances to score in the middle of the game. Donegan was picked off in the endzone by Siegfried freshman Spencer Judd and a Burggraf touchdown pass was called back due to a holding penalty.
The game ultimately came down to who had the final opportunity to score and, after several strong runs by Keough junior running back Mike Fischer, Donegan delivered the winning pass.
Burggraff was disappointed by the result, but expressed excitement for the future of the Ramblers’ program.
“We lose a lot of key guys, but we have a bunch of talented freshmen and sophomores as well,” Burggraf said. “If we practice hard, we’ll definitely be one of the better teams next year.”
Keough’s resurgence continued with the win, allowing the perennial underdogs a shot at playing in Notre Dame Stadium.
“It’s amazing,” Magiera said. “There’s so much energy around Keough football.”
No. 1 Sorin will provide Keough’s next test Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at LaBar Field.
Contact Casey Karnes at [email protected]
Knott 14, Fisher 0
By KIT LOUGHRAN
In a matchup between staunch defenses and solid rushing offenses, No. 3 Knott notched a 14-0 victory over No. 6 Fisher in Sunday’s quarterfinals.
Knott’s defense, which allowed just 20 points during the regular season, shut down the Green Wave (3-2).
“Our defense played unbelievably and really dominated the game,” Knott freshman receiver Griffin Carroll said.
In the first half, the Juggerknotts (4-1) and the Green Wave both failed to put any points on the board.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Fisher recovered a Knott fumble, but the Juggerknotts later atoned for their error at the end of the half with an interception at the goal line to prevent a Fisher touchdown.
In the second half, Knott took control of the game.
“We played really well in the second half,” Carroll said. “Our offense and defense dominated.”
On the first drive of the third quarter, Knott sophomore quarterback David Taiclet handed the ball off to junior running back Joe McGillicudy, who scampered in from five yards out to give the Juggerknotts a 7-0 lead.
The Fisher offense, led by junior quarterback Joe Paggi, focused on its rushing attack. Paggi racked up more than 50 rushing yards on the ground and, with the help of junior running back Ricky Neville, the Green Wave offense moved the ball throughout the second half, though they failed to put any points on the board.
With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Knott began its last drive of the game with a 10-yard run by sophomore running back Mike Rotar. After a few more runs, the Juggerknotts were positioned at the 10-yard line. Taiclet again handed off to Rotar, who rushed the ball straight up the middle for Knott’s second touchdown of the game.
With less than two minutes left in the game, Fisher made a comeback attempt but several incomplete passes plagued the offense.
“Our pass game just never really got going,” Fisher senior captain and offensive lineman Matt Hart said. “We ran the ball really well, but our passing game really hurt us.”
Knott will face No. 2 Keenan in the semifinals Sunday at 1 p.m. on LaBar Field.
Contact Kit Loughran at [email protected]