Phoxes upset Whirlwinds behind Gargan
Daniel O'Boyle | Sunday, November 23, 2014
No. 3 Pangborn upset No. 1 Welsh Family, 18-7, to take home the women’s interhall championship at Notre Dame Stadium on Sunday.
The game came down to the final minute with a goal-line stand by the Phoxes (8-1) ending the Whirlwinds’ hopes of completing a perfect season before Pangborn added another score as time expired.Phoxes senior quarterback Caitlin Gargan had three total touchdowns on the day, making her responsible for all twelve of her team’s scores this postseason. However, she said she owed much of her success to her teammates.
“I’ve been able to find a lot of success because my team is so strong around me,” Gargan said. “I’ve definitely had a lot of help on the outside.”
Gargan added that the Phoxes’ preparation was the reason why they were able to claim the championship.
“Today, I think we came out and ran our plays really well,” Gargan said. “Everybody knew their job and executed their role on our offense today. We practiced a few times this week and that really helped.”
The Whirlwinds entered the game 8-0 on the season. On the game’s first drive, sophomore quarterback Rachel Wimsatt connected with senior receiver Mary Knapp for a touchdown after only three plays. Sophomore receiver Ariel Navotas made a fingertip catch on a low pass for the one-point conversion.
Pangborn, however, was quick to reply. After completing a fourth-down pass and making a 31-yard run earlier in the drive, Gargan threw a screen to junior running back Katherine McManus, who scored from 12 yards out. An unsuccessful point-after try made it 7-6.
Conditions soon made the game difficult for both offenses as heavy rain fell and neither team found the end zone during the remainder of the half.
The rain eased in the second half, and the Phoxes took advantage. Gargan found sophomore receiver Anne Arnason on three consecutive plays to set up a first-and-goal at the eight. From there, she escaped heavy pressure and ran for a touchdown to give her team a 12-7 lead.
With the league’s top two scoring defenses on display, neither offense created an extended drive for the rest of the half until the Whirlwinds found some momentum late in the game as the heavy rain returned.
Wimsatt led Welsh Family down the field, and an interference penalty against Pangborn extended the drive on fourth-and-five. After a series of runs, the Whirlwinds were faced with another fourth down, this time needing a touchdown from three yards out. Wimsatt’s pass into the end zone was tipped and almost landed in the hands of a receiver, but ended up incomplete. She gave credit to Pangborn’s defense for the the offense’s inability to convert.
“They put good pressure on me, so I had to scramble, and they had our receivers covered,” Wimsatt said. “It was an incredible defensive play by them.”
On the game’s final possession, Gargan had the option to kneel, but chose instead to run and made it 71 yards down the sideline to the end zone as the clock hit zero.
“I think everybody thought I was just going to kneel, but once I was outside with my flags still on I just went for it,” said Gargan. “I don’t know if they were too happy about that, but it was great to seal the win and bring it home.”
Wimsatt said just playing in the championship game at Notre Dame Stadium was a great achievement for Welsh Family.
“It was incredible playing in the Stadium,” Wimsatt said. “We had a great turnout this year also. I feel like the Stadium really legitimizes the flag football program here at Notre Dame.”