Manor set to open season against Duncan
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, September 17, 2015
Morrissey vs. Duncan
Coming off last season as reigning champs, Morrissey faces Duncan as its first challenge on the field this Sunday.
Sophomore captain and quarterback Declan Zidar said Morrissey is not feeling any pressure under the spotlight.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys on the team this year and pretty much the same base of guys returning,” Zidar said. “Last year, I’d say running the ball and defense were our two biggest skills. This year, we’re trying to air it out a little more, so our passing game’s gotten a lot better.”
The Highlander defense plans to rise to the occasion, junior captain and defensive tackle Steve Treacy said.
“Linebacker is our best position,” Treacy said. “We’ve probably got six or seven guys who can rotate in pretty consistently and make some big plays for us. We’re ready and looking forward to getting back out there.”
Duncan hasn’t forgotten the 28-0 beating it took last year at the hands of the Manor. Treacy said his team sees this weekend as a second chance.
“We’re definitely looking to get a little revenge,” Treacy said. “Beat them by a couple touchdown margin to get them back for they did to us last year. We’re looking to make it to the championship.”
Zidar said his team is trying to keep the game in perspective.
“We’re pretty excited to play Duncan,” Zidar said. “I’ve got a lot of friends on that team. Overall, we’re just trying to get the win.”
Duncan will go for an upset when both teams play at Stepan Fields on Sunday at 2:15 p.m.
St. Edward’s vs. Fisher
This first week of the interhall season creates a matchup between St. Edward’s and Fisher, two teams looking to improve on results from a year ago.
St. Ed’s, which went just 1-3 a season ago, is set to benefit from an influx of new players, upperclassmen and freshmen alike.
“On offense, we’ve got two good freshman quarterbacks and 10 or so new players total,” junior lineman and team captain Phineas Andrews said.
Thanks to these talented new quarterbacks and a strong offensive backfield led by junior running back Jahmel Jordon, St. Ed’s will look to make versatility a key to its offense.
As for the defense, Andrews says the plan is to stick to what has worked in the past.
“We’re going to play aggressively,” Andrews said. “The same way we always have.”
Fisher, which faced an early exit from the playoffs last season, is characterized this fall by veteran leadership in key positions on both sides of the ball. On offense, junior running back Shannon Massey said the team would try to get the ball to its playmakers.
“We’ve got a lot of people coming back,” Massey said. “So we’ll be trying to get the ball in our best players’ hands and just see what they can do.”
This straightforward strategy could prove effective with weapons like junior quarterback Michael Cooney and senior receiver Joe Kelly returning as starters. Defensively, Massey, who also plays safety, said Fisher will play a hard-nosed style of defense.
“[We’re] a pretty physical group that likes to hit,” Massey said. “[We] will be looking to send a lot of guys.”
Both teams are eager to get back on the field this Sunday at 1 p.m., confident improvements will lead to greater success this season.
Keenan vs. Keough
Keenan and Keough will kick off their respective 2015 interhall football campaigns by doing battle at Stepan Fields on Sunday.
Keenan comes into this year fresh off a defeat in last year’s interhall championship, a 3-0 loss to Morrissey. However, Keenan captain and junior Michael Koller said he believes his team has what it takes to get back to the championship.
“Our defense is definitely pretty strong,” Koller said. “We have a lot of returnees and with that comes really good leadership. We’ve been to the championship several times during the last few seasons, so we want to keep that tradition going.”
Their opponent, Keough, knows all about interhall championships, having hoisted the trophy two years back. Keough captain and junior Matthew Mooney said he believes they too have the necessary experience.
“We have a fair amount of returning guys, especially within the running back, safety and offensive line positions,” Mooney said. “We only run a few plays, but we know we can run them well.”
Both captains pointed to the history of even contests between these two halls. For Keenan, Koller said getting off to a good start will be the key.
“We’ve had trouble with Keough in the past, so we need to come out firing strong,” Koller said. “Establishing the run game and playing shutdown defense will be important, because [Keough] usually has a pretty strong offense.”
For Keough, Mooney said he believes big plays could spell the difference.
“The key to me is who will make the explosive plays that can change the game,” Mooney said.
The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Stepan Fields.
McGlinn vs. Pasquerilla East
McGlinn and Pasquerilla East kick off their seasons with what is sure to be an interesting matchup on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Pasquerilla East’s strong returning defense faces a McGlinn offense led by senior captain Megan Fabry. Junior Pyros receiver and captain Noelle Gooding says her team boasts another weapon in the form of their camaraderie.
“I think [our sense of community] gives us an advantage in comparison to other teams because [it] builds our sense of spirit and as a team makes us more cohesive,” Gooding said.
Both teams have been working hard on the practice fields preparing for this matchup, but Gooding said both will contend with the uncertainties of opening day.
“It’s everybody’s first game, so we don’t really know what to expect,” Gooding said. “We’re definitely going to be working out some kinks, but we’re just going to try to go out there and do what we’ve been practicing, give everybody some time on the field and just set a good precedent for the whole season.”
Despite the unpredictability of the first game, Gooding said there is one thing she is certain about.
“The whole point of it is just for us to get used to it and just get back into the swing of things,” Gooding said. “I am absolutely confident that we will have a great performance no matter the outcome.”
McGlinn and Pasquerilla East will be in action on Sunday at 5 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex in what is sure to be an impressive start to both team’s seasons.
O’Neill vs. Dillon
With the beginning of fall comes the first weekend of interhall football, pitting O’Neill against Dillon on the men’s side.
O’Neill junior Keenan Bailey said the Angry Mob are confident going into the game.
“We’ve gone all in, you’re going to see Sunday,” Bailey said. “We don’t run the ball. We are small. We sling the ball around to our little freshmen and let them dance. It’s all or nothing for O’Neill. Sink or swim.”
O’Neill co-captain, junior Conor Colpoys, shows an overall positive and welcoming attitude.
“Padded football as an interhall sport is something Notre Dame has that only a few schools do, and I’m excited to do it,” Colpoys said. “It’s a great way for guys within the hall and throughout the halls to meet each other.”
On the other side of the ball, Dillon sophomore captain John Walsh talked about his team’s star players and said the Big Red will bounce back from their 1-3 season last fall.
“We are led by a freshman quarterback, Michael Cahill, who can really sling it,” Walsh said. “O’Neill is the first team in our way. We are looking forward to a great game and starting on our road to the playoffs.”
O’Neill and Dillon will lace up their cleats and strap up their helmets when they take to the field at 3:30 p.m. at Stepan Fields.
Walsh vs. Breen-Phillips
Walsh will take on Breen-Phillips at LaBar Fields, with both teams looking forward to the start of the season on Sunday.
Walsh is looking to make a return to the playoffs this year after being ousted in the first round last season, while Breen-Phillips is looking to turn their program around and improve from their one-win season a year ago.
Sophomore Breen-Phillips captain Megan Resnik says she feels confident her team will be ready to play on Sunday.
“We are going to go out there and play our best,” Resnik said. “We have some great plays to run and the team has been working hard.”
Breen-Phillips’ offensive attack will be led by sophomore quarterback Katie Sedor. Rensik described Sedor as a very athletic player who could provide big plays for the Babes this year.
The Wild Women’s success in the game could depend on how well they are able to shut down Sedor.
Junior Walsh captain Courtney Davis said her team is looking to enjoy the game on Sunday.
“We’re expecting to have fun out on the field and for everyone on the team to give it their all,” Davis said.
Davis also said she trusts head coach Chris Schleckser will have a great game plan ready to go for Sunday. Schleckser is in his third year as the head coach of the Wild Women. He was described as a “flag football expert” by Davis, who credits him for much of Walsh’s success.
The Wild Women and the Babes meet on Sunday at 6 p.m. at LaBar Fields.
Lyons vs. Ryan
Lyons faces Ryan this Sunday for their first game of the season and the first matchup between the two teams in the last three years.
Senior Ryan captain and receiver Erin Clark played in the stadium with her Wildcats team as a freshman and said she is itching for another chance.
“We are always trying to be as competitive as possible,” Clark said. “We are a team that takes it very seriously, so that is always our goal: trying to make that final push to get to the championship.”
Lions captain and junior tight end Melissa Hoelting said her team comes from a different background of flag football at Notre Dame.
“Lyons is bad about having an athletic presence,” Hoelting said. “Last year, we only won one game. This year will be good. We care a lot more. Our coaches are there and committed to the game, and we’ve been having more practices.”
Both captains said they rely on fresh faces and new quarterbacks to be a positive influence on the field.
“We took quite a few freshmen so a lot of young blood,” Clark said. “But I think it will push returning players to be better, and I am looking forward to seeing how they bring a new dynamic to the team.
“It will definitely be interesting filling the quarterback position because our quarterback is abroad and left some big shoes to fill, but I think our new quarterback is really going to step up. We are looking for big things.”
Hoelting said the new Ryan quarterback will be up against a tough defensive line.
“[The defensive line is] pretty strong; they really like to block passes,” Hoelting said. “It’s their favorite activity to just knock them down.”
The Lions and Wildcats will meet at 6 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.
Alumni vs. Siegfried
With pads strapped onto shoulders, cleats laced, helmets lowered snuggly onto sweat-glistened heads, the men of Alumni and Siegfried will kick off their interhall seasons Sunday.
It’s a matchup between South Quad and Mod Quad, a fierce first test between the Dawgs and the Ramblers.
In the first game of the interhall football schedule, both teams are looking to start off with a win and work towards the championship in Notre Dame Stadium.
Siegfried is looking to start off well, Ramblers senior safety and captain Grady Schmidt said. His team will try to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
“I’m feeling confident,” Schmidt said. “We have a lot of good players on our team, so we’re going to rely on our athleticism to make some plays. Alumni is always tough, though, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Looking to spoil Siegfried’s day and get its own first win is Alumni, a team in a rebuilding stage following the loss of many key seniors two years ago.
“I believe that Alumni has been practicing well and that the players are starting to work well together as a team,” junior captain Nick Lund said. “I look forward to a good season this year.”
Alumni is an offensively minded team, Lund said, and will try to move the ball consistently, led by senior quarterback Trevor Hurley.
The game will be played at Stepan Fields at 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
Badin vs. Farley
Badin and Farley enter the interhall season already looking toward the final at Notre Dame Stadium.
Badin captain Margaret Long said she has big expectations for the season.
“[We have] a great team cohesiveness that has been missing the past few years,” Long said. “[We will] work well together and have a strong start.”
In this first game, Long said the Badin team will be aiming to get off to a good start in what they hope to be a successful season. Long said the Bullfrogs are excited to see what they can do, even with a team that is 80 percent freshmen.
“All in all, it’s going to be a good year for Badin,” Long said.
Badin and Farley will kick off their seasons Sunday afternoon at LaBar Practice Complex at 4 p.m.