Knights advance to championship on early TD
Marek Mazurek | Monday, November 17, 2014
No. 2 Keenan defeated No. 6 Siegfried, 6-0, in a semifinal matchup Sunday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium.
With the victory, Keenan (5-0-1) moves on to play top-seeded Morrissey in the men’s interhall championship game at Notre Dame Stadium next weekend.
For Siegfried (3-3), its season is over but junior captain Grady Schmidt said he still considers the campaign valuable.
“[The season] was successful,” Schmidt said. “We all had fun and got to play at the Stadium. it didn’t end how we wanted it to, but we still accomplished a lot.”
Keenan junior captain Jon Wiese said he was extremely happy with how his team played.
“I think we played tough,” Wiese said. “We didn’t get as many points as we wanted on offense, but our defense stood up to the test time after time. We had two big stops in the red zone and ended up rolling it out.”
The game was largely a defensive struggle that saw minimal ball movement until midway through the second quarter, when Keenan junior quarterback Aaron DiGenova threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver and cornerback Michael Koller. After a missed 2-point conversion, the score stood at 6-0 in favor of Keenan. This play proved to be the winning score in the game, and DiGenova said the long pass was the best play of the contest.
“It was fourth down and five and we were trying to draw them offsides,” DiGenova said. “We got them to jump and after we got them to jump, we had a free play and at that point I just threw it up there and [Koller] made a great play. Phenomenal play by him and that was the difference.”
In the second half, Siegfried tried to put together a comeback, but junior quarterback Spencer Judd threw two costly interceptions in Keenan territory that ended long drives for Siegfried. Judd had 141 yards passing on the day — 134 of them to Schmidt. For Keenan, Koller had one interception and freshman cornerback Peter Buseck had two interceptions, including a key pick with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. In total, the Knights forced four turnovers in the game, and Wiese said their defense was the reason they won the game.
“We’ve trusted our secondary all year,” Wiese said. “[Michael Koller] and Peter Buseck played great back there. We’re just getting more and more picks every game. I don’t think we’ve had a game so far where we haven’t had any interceptions. We felt really great about our defense.”
The Knights will now prepare to face unbeaten Morrissey next week with the championship on the line. Wiese said his team will be ready for the challenge.
“Morrissey’s a great team,” Wiese said. “They show a lot of different looks and they obviously haven’t lost this season. We’re really hoping we can get out [and practice] with the snow, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to. Regardless, we’re probably going to gameplan and throw a couple of wrinkles in. Overall, we’re just going to stick to our bread and butter hard — nose defense and getting our offense on pace because we know it can be explosive.”
Keenan and Morrissey will play this Sunday at 3:30 p.m., in Notre Dame Stadium for the men’s interhall championship.