Pyros, Whirlwinds, Manor enter playoffs still undefeated
Alex Carson | Thursday, November 6, 2014
The interhall football playoffs get underway this weekend as eight men’s and eight women’s teams take to the field Sunday, standing two games away from the championship games in Notre Dame Stadium.
Two teams enter the women’s tournament with unblemished, 6-0 records as division winners — Pasquerilla East and Welsh Family — but have done it by leading the regular season in opposite categories. The Pyros boast the highest-scoring offense in the competition, scoring 27.5 points per game, while the Whirlwinds defense has allowed just 24 points all season. Pangborn holds the third seed after a 5-1 season — a 14-6 loss to Pasquerilla East last month could be avenged next weekend in a semifinal — and the Phoxes allowed just 13 total points in five other games.
After an impressive 4-0 season that saw it outscore opponents, 95-36, Morrissey enters the men’s tournament as the top seed — and the only team with a perfect record. Keenan’s had lone blemish en route to a division a 6-6 tie with Keough — the only time the Knights (3-0-1) surrendered points all year — while Carroll topped Division C after a 3-1 season that saw the Vermin score 66 points in three shutout wins.
Despite regular-season success, Morrissey junior running back and captain Erik Rayno said his team knows the importance of moving on to the playoffs.
“It is a brand-new season,” Rayno said. “It’s no longer us being 4-0 on top — we’re in a good place with a good seed … and my guys understand that if we don’t show up, we’re going home. And we don’t want to let that happen.”
On the horizon for two men’s and two women’s teams is a date on the turf at Notre Dame Stadium; however, Rayno’s Manor team is not thinking about it.
“We’re just focused on this weekend,” Rayno said. “We’re gonna take it one game at a time, and we’re not looking ahead to the stadium at this time.”
Men’s games will take place early Sunday afternoon at Riehle Fields while women’s games will be played at the LaBar Practice Facility later in the day.
No. 1 Morrissey (4-0) vs. No. 8 Knott (2-2), 2:15 p.m.
The top-seeded Manor open the playoff campaign with a week-two rematch, playing the team that gave them their closest contest of the year. Morrissey won the Sept. 28 contest 22-21 over Knott before the Juggerknots — once 0-2 — won their final two games to sneak into the playoffs.
No. 2 Keenan (3-0-1) vs. No. 7 Sorin (2-2), 2:15 p.m.
The Knights enter Sunday having given up just six points all season long while the Otters enter the playoffs on a two-game losing streak. After starting 2-0, Sorin has lost back-to-back games against Fisher and previously-winless Zahm and will have to stop its skid to pull out an upset win.
No. 3 Carroll (3-1) vs. No. 6 Siegfried (2-2), 1 p.m.
The Vermin have a lone loss on the season to Sorin — an 8-0 defeat — but have outscored opponents 66-0 otherwise, while the Ramblers needed a win Sunday over Duncan to make the playoffs. Siegfried gave up 32 points in a midseason loss to Morrissey but scored 21 last week — 12 points more than it scored in the first three games this year.
No. 4 Fisher (3-1) vs. No. 5 Stanford (2-1-1), 1 p.m.
After a 21-0 opening-week defeat to Carroll, the Green Wave have run off three straight victories and enter the playoffs as one of the league’s highest-scoring teams, averaging upwards of 17 points per game since the week-one loss. Stanford, however, has not surrendered more than eight points in a single game all season and ground out a 6-6 tie with O’Neill last week to secure its spot in the field.
No. 1 Welsh Family (6-0) vs. No. 8 McGlinn (2-3-1), 5 p.m.
The Whirlwinds hold the best defense and have been held under 20 points on just two occasions this year. They take on McGlinn, who needed a 12-12 tie Monday against Howard to clinch a playoff spot. The Shamrocks have lost just one game since September, however, and will look to pull the upset.
No. 2 Pasquerilla East (6-0) vs. No. 7 Walsh (3-3), 4 p.m.
The Pyros rode a high-scoring offense to an unbeaten regular season; however, Sunday’s game will mark their first contest in four weeks. After an 0-2 start, Walsh won three of four to make the playoff field, and all six of the Wild Women’s games have been a shutout one way or the other.
No. 3 Pangborn (5-1) vs. No. 6 Cavanaugh (3-3), 4 p.m.
Pangborn’s defense surrendered just 27 points all season while its offense scored 23 per game, and the Phoxes’ lone loss came to second-seeded Pasquerilla East. The Chaos have not surrendered a point in a month and are riding a two-game winning streak entering the playoffs.
No. 4 Ryan (4-2) vs. No. 5 Pasquerilla West (4-2), 5 p.m.
In a rematch of last season’s championship game, which the Purple Weasels won, Ryan and Pasquerilla West will battle simply to move one round closer to Notre Dame Stadium. After starting the year 3-0, the Wildcats have lost two of three while the Purple Weasels’ two losses came by a combined eight points.