Interhall playoffs begin Sunday
Observer Sports Staff | Friday, October 30, 2015
No. 2 Stanford vs. No. 7 Fisher — Dominic Iannelli
The first round of the playoffs will feature No. 2 Stanford and No. 7 Fisher.
Fisher junior captain Shannon Massey said his team placed a special emphasis on offense this week as it prepares to face a talented Stanford defense.
“We need to be able to control the ball with sustained drives and limit turnovers,” Massey said. “If we are able to do that, I am confident in our team’s ability. We have been working on continuity and execution on offense.”
Despite its perfect record, Stanford senior captain Dan Babiak said Stanford is still looking to improve and tweak its high-powered offense. This week, the Griffins (4-0) will start a new quarterback, freshman Chase Jennings, while moving their current quarterback — sophomore Andrew Foster — to receiver.
Babiak said the Griffins are experimenting and moving around their talent in order to generate more on the offensive side of the football.
“We are just trying it out,” Babiak said. “Our current quarterback is a great athlete so we’re trying to think of different ways to dynamically use him.”
When asked what the Green Wave (2-2) need to do to slow down the Griffins, Massey said it will come down to Fisher’s ability to control the line of scrimmage.
“Our [offensive line] and [defensive line] are both hard-nosed and aggressive,” he said. “In order to be successful, we need to keep our edge in the trenches and allow our playmakers time to make plays.”
For Stanford, the concern is the health of its players. After narrowly defeating last-ranked O’Neill in their final game of the regular season, the Griffins were in need of rest, Babiak said.
“We have been struggling with some injuries this season,” he said. “Hopefully fall break allowed us to recuperate properly and we can get everyone out there. We just need to come out and play, on both sides of the ball, and we’ll win the game.”
The Griffins and the Green Wave will kick off at 2:15 p.m. at Riehle Fields.
No. 2 Howard vs. No. 7 Cavanaugh — Joe Everett
In the first round of the playoffs, No. 2 Howard will take on No. 7 Cavanaugh, with both teams excited for what the playoffs might hold.
The Ducks, with a record of 5-1 on the season, boast the higher seed in this matchup. However, the Chaos (3-3), led by senior captain Katherine Kaes, think they can make their mark this postseason.
“I am very optimistic for Cavanaugh going into the playoffs,” Kaes said. “We’ve been improving with every game, and I believe that’s going to continue going into this weekend.”
Howard senior captain and quarterback Stephanie Peterson said she is confident in her team’s mentality going into the matchup.
“We have set an expectation of winning this whole season, so we’re looking to continue that in the playoffs,” Peterson said. “We need to make sure we take it one game at a time if we want to get to the Stadium.”
With each game in the playoffs being a win-or-go-home situation, both captains said they were focused on each teams’ keys to victory.
“I think the key to winning against Howard is to stay focused,” Kaes said. “Every team plays a different game, and the key is going to be learning and adapting to how Howard plays quickly at the beginning of the game, and then go on to dominate from there”.
For Howard, Peterson said the key will be a bit simpler.
“[It’s] just playing how we know how to play,” Peterson said.
The Ducks and the Chaos will face off Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex at 5 p.m.
No. 3 Morrissey vs. No. 6 Sorin — Maureen Schweninger
No. 3 Morrissey faces off against No. 6 Sorin in the first week of the playoffs this Sunday.
Sorin sophomore captain and linebacker Matt Requet said the Otters have made significant changes since the regular season began.
“We started out as a pass-heavy team,” Requet said. “But we’ve started to implement a power running attack to pick up some yardage to take the pressure off our air attack.”
Morrissey (3-1) features a strong ground game, spearheaded by sophomore captain and quarterback Declan Zidar and senior running back Hunter White, who has eclipsed the 100-yard mark multiple times this season. Requet said the Otters have prepared to contain that running game.
“The main focus this week has been stopping the run and being disciplined,” Requet said. “We know that Morrissey has a strong running attack and is always well prepared each week.”
Sorin (2-1-1) has more to prove this season, but that is a challenge Requet said the Otters are taking head on.
“We would love to keep this season going obviously,” Requet said. “I know that the seniors don’t want to end their football careers on a loss, so we are going to put everything out there. I think we are a better team than our numbers show, and if we can put together four solid quarters, we could go far in the postseason.”
The Otters and the Manor go head-to-head Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at Riehle Fields.
No. 4 Farley vs. No. 5 Pasquerilla West — Alex Bender
No. 4 Farley and No. 5 Pasquerilla West face off in a matchup between two teams determined to make it to Notre Dame Stadium for the interhall championship.
Both teams have had a great deal of success so far this season, but they have done so with strengths on opposite sides of the ball. Pasquerilla West (4-1-1) has been strong on defense, while Farley (5-1) has relied on its offense.
Finest senior co-captain Ali Buersmeyer said she has been pleased with her team’s growth as the season has progressed.
“This has been an awesome season so far. From the beginning our offense has been so effective, and combined with a defense that’s been consistently improving, our team has looked really good,” Buersmeyer said. “The best part of the season has definitely been the high level of cohesion of the entire team, across the offense and defense and along with our coaches. The atmosphere has been really fun — I think that’s greatly contributed to our success so far.”
Another of Farley’s co-captains, senior Rose-Marie Mazanek, said she was particularly excited for this matchup.
“This will definitely be a great match up between a great offense and defense. Really two great teams overall,” Mazanek said. “I feel like the key to success is coming out strong in the first series for both our offense and defense and making sure that we are playing our game.”
On Sunday, Farley and Pasquerilla West will compete to keep their dream of playing in Notre Dame Stadium alive at 4 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.
No. 4 Keenan vs. No. 5 Siegfried — Brenna Moxley
Keenan will take on Siegfried on Sunday afternoon in a No. 4 vs. No. 5 clash to start off the postseason.
Siegfried (3-1) is looking to keep its season alive and grab its fourth win of the season. Senior safety and captain Grady Schmidt said the team took a break from practicing right before playoffs.
“Having fall break between now and our last game made it tough to stay focused on football, but I’m confident that we’ll be ready to go on Sunday,” Schmidt said.
He said the Ramblers’ game plan is to remain flexible and make adjustments based on how the Knights are playing.
Schmidt also named a few players he expected to stand out for the Ramblers.
“A couple players to look out for are [senior] James Bowyer on the [offensive] line and [junior] Jake Maier at cornerback,” he said.
Keenan (3-1) defeated Keough, O’Neill and Dillon en route to the playoffs, although the Knights lost by a single point to rival Stanford in the Battle for the Chapel.
Keenan and Siegfried will face off Sunday at 1 p.m. at Riehle Fields.