Men’s Interhall Football: Keough and Alumni advance
Observer Sports Writers | Tuesday, November 19, 2013
By ZACH KLONSINSKI
After coming within a point twice in the last three years, No. 2 Alumni finally earned its way to the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame Stadium, advancing with a come-from-behind, 13-9 win over No. 3 Carroll on Monday.
“This is why we play,” Dawgs senior captain and receiver Jeff Kraemer said. “That was one of our slower starts … but the guys answered the bell and played some Dawg football in the second half.”
The Dawgs (6-0) struggled in the first half, giving away the first points of the game, as a snap sailed over junior punter Ryan Buckley’s head for a safety on the first play of the second quarter.
The Vermin (4-1-1) then drove 45 yards in five plays before Vermin senior quarterback Bobby Dorman broke a tackle and barreled into the end zone from five yards out. Dorman tacked on the extra point to give Carroll a 9-0 lead.
Late in the half, the Vermin marched deep into Dawg territory. With the ball on the Alumni 13-yard line, Dorman took a hard hit from an Alumni defender. The senior left the game and never returned.
Alumni then stuffed freshman running back Zach Dodd from the one-yard line as time ran out in the half, preventing Carroll from adding to its lead.
The Dawgs opened the second half with a 65-yard drive, capped by sophomore quarterback Trevor Hurley’s pass down the right sideline to Kraemer, who dove inside the pylon to secure the score. A missed extra point by Buckley kept the Vermin lead at 9-6.
The Alumni offense got the ball back at the Carroll 39-yard line after its defense forced a three-and-out. Twice on the ensuing drive, Alumni was forced into fourth-and-long situations and twice Kraemer came up with huge, first-down receptions. The senior then hauled in a one-yard touchdown reception to give Alumni the lead for good, early in the fourth quarter. Buckley’s extra point made the score 13-9.
“Sometimes I feel like I could close my eyes and throw it up to [Kraemer], and he would come down with it,” Hurley said.
The Carroll offense tried to respond, but replacement seunior quarterback Jacn Gardner’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete, and Alumni never gave the ball back.
Although the finish was not what he would have liked, Carroll senior captain and lineman Mike Russell said he was proud of his team.
“We played hard, and we left everything on the field,” Russell said. “We played our hearts out, but I don’t have any regrets.”
Alumni will battle for the interhall football championship with Keough on Sunday.
Contact Zach Klonsinski at [email protected]
Keough 16, Keenan 13
By MANNY DE JESUS
In a rematch from the regular season, No. 4 Keough defeated No. 1 Keenan 16-13 in Monday’s semifinals, sending the Kangaroos to the championship at Notre Dame Stadium.
The first quarter favored the Knights (5-1) as sophomore quarterback Patrick Corry connected with senior receiver and captain Jeremy Riche on a 55-yard touchdown to take the early lead. Senior receiver and kicker John Garry hit the point after to make it a 7-0 game after the first quarter.
Although Keenan had the lead, the running game for the Kangaroos (5-1), led by freshman running back Conor Kinasz, broke through the Knights’ defense and scored a rushing touchdown five yards out from the end zone. Kinasz converted the two-point conversion to give the Kangaroos an 8-7 halftime lead.
The rest of the game was a defensive struggle between the two teams, as they each turned the ball over twice. Keough sophomore receiver and defensive back Mitchell Patin made a key interception, which could have sealed the victory for the Kangaroos until Kinasz fumbled the ball later in the third quarter on the Knights’ one-yard line to give Keenan another chance at a comeback.
Keenan’s opportunity to drive 99 yards for a score was abruptly ended when Patin forced a safety on the very next play with a tackle for loss in the Knights’ end zone. Kinasz then rushed for his second touchdown of the night to give Keough the 16-7 lead.Midway through the fourth quarter, Keenan freshman defensive back Mikey Koller intercepted Keough senior captain and quarterback Seamus Donegan, which eventually turned into six points for the Knights when Corry hit Riche once again in the end zone from six yards out.
Garry’s point after attempt was blocked by the Kangaroos’ special teams unit, and Donegan took a knee to end the Knights’ season.
“We got to this point last year, and now we have one more win to take care of,” Donegan said. “If we bring this kind of energy and come together like this it’s going to be fun [playing for the championship].”
The Kangaroos’ rushing attack dominated this matchup, picking up 103 yards and two touchdowns. Kinasz accounted for the two rushing touchdowns, but he said he gave the credit to his teammates for his success.
“Seamus, our captain and quarterback, leads us well, and our line pushed me through holes for me to be able to run through,” Kinasz said. “I need to work on holding on to the ball, but my teammates will pick me up, and I will have their back.”
Despite the loss, Riche said he believed his team played with heart and pride throughout the game.
“It was our first time being down this entire year, and for us to respond the way we did, fighting through it all, I couldn’t be prouder,” Riche said. “We’ve had a great run, and it won’t stop with me as the younger guys will take over the program and make it better for the future.”
The Kangaroos head to Notre Dame Stadium on Sunday to take on Alumni for the championship.
Contact Manny De Jesus at [email protected]