Men’s season set to get underway; Ryan, Welsh Family put unblemished records on the line
Stanford vs. Duncan
As the men’s interhall season begins, Duncan will take on Stanford in what looks like a David-versus-Goliath matchup.
Duncan looks to start this interhall season off on a positive note after going winless last season. Highlanders junior captain Thomas Staffieri said he remains optimistic about his team’s potential for success.
“Traditionally, we haven’t had the best team in the world, but we’re excited for this year,” Staffieri said. “Our goal is to get a win, and we can only improve upon last year.”
Duncan returns 16 starters from last season in addition to a handful of talented freshmen that will be inserted into the lineup during Sunday’s matchup, according to Staffieri. He said some players to watch for Duncan include junior quarterback Matt Kase, sophomore running back Micah Rensch and senior lineman Steve Treacy.
With respect to Duncan’s match against the Griffins, Staffieri said he is slightly less confident.
“I hear Stanford’s pretty [good],” Staffieri said. “We will show up with our 11 and see how things go from there.”
Stanford has a different goal than Duncan in mind this year. For the past two seasons, Stanford has suffered semifinal losses to the two-time reigning champion, Morrissey. And, despite the loss of senior captain Brent Jordan to a torn ACL prior to the season, junior co-captain Kevin Kohler said he believes Stanford has the ability to take home the championship this year.
“Stanford is still one of the best teams in the league and has a strong chance of going back and winning it all this year,” Kohler said.
Stanford returns its entire offensive line from last season, but will rely on underclassmen to help lead the offense with sophomore quarterback Chase Jennings and freshman running back Brandon Garcia, Kohler said. In addition to offense, Stanford also returns an experienced defense headed by middle linebackers junior Matt O’Brien and senior Pat McMahon as well as senior cornerback Justin Witte.
The matchup between the Griffins and the Highlanders will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.
Morrissey vs. Siegfried
Morrissey, the back-to-back interhall football champions, will open its season against Siegfried on Sunday. Looking to continue their recent success, the Manor continues to have high expectations for this season, senior captain Nick Sywyj said.
“We are setting the bar pretty high,” Sywyj said. “We’ve won the past two years, so I am coming back looking to defend the title again and keep the tradition of Manor football alive and well. We are looking to go undefeated. We have a three-game season, so we are looking to win those three games and come out firing all cylinders.”
Since the Ramblers are starting their season against the notoriously-challenging Manor, senior captain Dan Verzuh said his team has to come out onto the field prepared for anything.
“Morrissey has only lost one game in the past two years,” Verzuh said. “They are back-to-back returning champions, so obviously we have to prepare for them with no assumptions on our part. They are known for having a really heavy front and a bruising running game. So we are going to have to get used to stacking the box, but every season is a new season, and there is going to be a lot of turnover. We are going to have to be our best selves. Assuming they won’t give us an inch, we have to take everything we can get.”
Although Morrissey has pressure to bring home another title, Sywyj said he is excited to begin the season.
“We are just looking to finally face another team at full speed and get back into the swing of things,” Sywyj said. “As for our record, it is not about the individual games. The main goal is the title. If we lose a game, we aren’t going to cry. We will face the adversity and come back strong and play it off. The big thing is to always learn from your mistakes and limit them in the future. I think the pressure is more in working together as a team, not getting mad at each other, sticking it out and fighting through because the games that matter are in November.”
Despite a confident opponent striving to be champions for three years in a row, the Ramblers’ goals are just as high, as they are also aiming for the title, Verzuh said.
“All of it is what we are going to get,” Verzuh said. “We are going to get all of it. The Stadium is within our view. We have to treat each game like a must win, because it is. We’re not the hall of champions for nothing.”
Morrissey and Siegfried will face off at 1 p.m. on Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.
Carroll vs. Sorin
This Sunday, Carroll will face off against Sorin to open up the men’s interhall football season.
Both teams are eager to begin play after a long offseason. Carroll senior captain Anthony Vallera said he is excited about the team and believes depth will play a big role in his team’s success.
“Last year, we were not very good, going 1-3, and a lot of that I think is due to the lack of depth,” Vallera said.
The Vermin only had about 14 players last year but will run deeper this season, as they expect to field 20 players who have high school football experience. Vallera said he is confident in what system of offense he wants to run.
“I am a wide receiver and am a fan of the spread offense because it is better than just pounding it up the middle, and we have the athleticism to stretch out the field,” Vallera said.
The Vermin are seeking revenge from last year’s loss to Sorin. Vallera said he believes having all players at the game ready to make plays will get them a win.
On the other side, Sorin wants to erase the memory of last year’s first-round playoff loss with a win to start this season. Sorin junior captain Shane Anderson believes his team has good replacements this year to replace key players that were lost after last season.
“We had good players last year but also inexperienced players, and I think our huge incoming class can help us out,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who played quarterback last year for the first time, said he is excited to have three quarterbacks on the roster this year. He also said simplifying the offense and executing the playbook will be crucial since Sorin lacks depth on the offensive line. The Otters return key junior receiver Teddy Edwards, who pulled in multiple touchdowns last year with his ability to high point the ball.
Sorin and Carroll will face off on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.
Fisher vs. St. Edward’s
Fisher and St. Edward’s will both look to start this interhall football season off strongly Sunday when they battle it out in the first game of the season.
Fisher, led by senior captain Shannon Massey, looks to improve upon last season after losing to Stanford 6-0 in the first round of the interhall playoffs a year ago. Massey, a two-time captain for Fisher who plays linebacker and running back, said he believes his team can compete for a title.
“We have a great group of guys,” Massey said. “We believe we can go out each week and get wins.”
Last year, Fisher had a strong core of seniors that helped the team earn wins. Massey said Fisher’s strength was previously in the trenches, as it had a few big players to make key plays on the line, but this year they have talent at other positions as well.
“This year, we have a strong group of skill players,” Massey said. “We are flushed with guys who can make plays on both sides of the ball, and we are a speedy, athletic group.”
When discussing Fisher’s upcoming game against St. Edward’s, Massey said the Gentlemen always have a strong run game, which they will need to stop by being physical up front.
St. Edward’s, led by senior captain Phineas Andrews, aims to go further this interhall season after it lost to Dillon 14-0 in the first round of the interhall playoffs back in November of last year.
Andrews, a lineman on both offense and defense, said he is excited for the upcoming season.
“Our primary goals for the regular season is to make the playoffs and win our division,” Andrews said. “Our defense should be a team strength this season. We also have a solid special teams unit and a good core of offensive players returning from last year.”
St. Edward’s is returning 20 out of 24 starters from last year’s team, and Andrews said he is hopeful the team has found good players to fill the gaps.
“Our defense will look very similar to last year’s lineup,” Andrews said. “On offense, we will look to create more big plays while minimizing turnovers.”
As for the Gentlemen’s opposition, Andrews said he is not sure what to expect this Sunday, but emphasized that his team’s defense needs to step up in order for its offense to have good field position and to avoid turnovers.
Fisher and St. Edward’s will take the field for the first time in 2016 at 2:15 p.m. Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.
Keenan v. Keough
Keenan takes on Keough on Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex to kick off the first week of the season.
Both teams have high expectations for the year. Keough junior captain Daniel Childers said the Roos are prepared for the matchup.
“We will have had four practices and a team meeting by the time the game rolls around, and we all have copies of the playbook,” Childers said.
On the other side, the Knights will field a young team this season after losing in the championship game last year. Junior captain Greg Brainard said he is confident Keenan will be successful on both sides of the ball.
“We’re excited about our offense this year,” Brainard said. “We have a sophomore, Dan Lindstrom, who played four years in high school, which we think is going to make a big impact on Sunday. Our defense has historically been strong, so we’re looking to really lock down on defense like we have been in the past.”
Keough, on the other hand, hopes to be a resilient team and improve from last year’s disappointing season, Childers said.
“Our defensive strategy will be to try to limit big plays, while on offense it will be to try to wear our opponents down,” Childers said.
Both team captains said they are eager to return to the field for the first time this season. Childers said he enjoys the camaraderie that comes with interhall football.
“Every season, I just look forward to strapping on some pads and competing with my friends,” Childers said. “Last year, Keough did not have a good season, but we should be more competitive this year.”
Keenan and Keough will square off Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex at 3:30 p.m.
O’Neill v. Alumni
Alumni and O’Neill begin their interhall seasons Sunday, with both teams looking to learn from the adversity they each faced last year in order to succeed this season.
Dawgs senior captain Nick Lund said he feels strongly about his expectations for this year’s squad, despite last season’s disappointing 1-3 record.
“I’ve really been pushing practices more this year, making sure that everyone gets to practice to get the plays down and work more diligently to get a better outcome,” Lund said. “Obviously, we want to go to the playoffs, and I think we can get to the playoffs.”
Lund said he believes his team brings many key strengths to the table in their matchup against O’Neill.
“We have a pretty good coaching staff that has been together for the past few years,” Lund said. “We have a lot of new talent, so it’s been good to be able to work with them. Our offense looks good, and we are putting in a new offensive setting. Our defense has always been really good because our guys just love to hit.”
Similarly, O’Neill sophomore captain Charlie Puntillo said he thinks the Angry Mob have a solid plan to bounce back from last season’s winless run.
“This year, we tried to do things a little differently,” Puntillo said. “We had cuts after I took over, because losing last year wasn’t very fun, and I wanted to do something about it.”
Puntillo said he is optimistic his team will be prepared for Sunday’s opening game.
“We have a lot of athletic guys this year, which is definitely a plus for us,” Puntillo said. “If we can figure out the offense, we’ll be good, because I know our defense will be solid.”
O’Neill and Alumni will kick off at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the LaBar Practice Complex.
Ryan v. Welsh Family
Ryan and Welsh Family are set for a battle of unbeaten teams Sunday at Riehle Fields.
With their undefeated starts, both the Wildcats (2-0) and Whirlwinds (1-0) will look to establish themselves as a championship favorite in their matchup. Whirlwind senior captain Ariel Navotas said she is sure that if her team is able to play to the best of its abilities, then it will come out on top this weekend.
“Every single player is so talented that if we all show up, then we will win,” Navotas said. “Ryan is definitely a good team, but if we all show up, then it will be good for us and we will win.”
Wildcats senior captain Shawn Hall said she has high expectations for her team this season.
“[We want to make] it to the championship game in Notre Dame Stadium,” Hall said.
Ryan senior and co-captain Clare Conaty said she expects the game against Welsh Family will be a tough matchup.
“They have a pretty strong team, so we are going to have to follow our game plan and do what we normally do, then we can keep the [winning] trend up,” Conaty said.
For Welsh Family, Navotas said she feels ready to go, as her team held Howard scoreless last Sunday.
“We only lost one or two players on defense, and [the defense] has always been very strong and they continue to do the same,” Navotas said. “We have a new quarterback, and everyone gets along really.”
Hall said she knows the Wildcats’ defense will be tough for the Whirlwinds to compete with.
“Our defense has let up one touchdown in two games, so that is very promising,” Hall said. “We can stop the running game, [and] we can stop the passing game.”
Ryan senior quarterback Kathleen Conaty said she is confident in Ryan’s offense as well.
“Our receiving corps has hands for days — they can catch anything we throw at them,” Conaty said. “With shifty running backs and an awesome line, we just really work well together.”
The Wildcats will face the Whirlwinds on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Riehle Fields.