Interhall playoffs continue; St. Edward’s, Keenan advance to semifinals
No. 3 Stanford def. No. 6 Dillon, 18-7
By Darcy Dehais
No. 3 Stanford defeated No. 6 Dillon by a score of 18-7 in the first round of the interhall playoffs, eliminating the Big Red.
The Griffins (4-1) scored a rushing touchdown on the opening drive, and their offense was difficult to stop the rest of the game.
Dillon (2-2) threw an interception and fumbled the ball once in the first half, allowing Stanford to gain an early edge. Dillon junior captain John Walsh said the Big Red’s simple mistakes cost them the game.
“I thought we fought hard,” Walsh said. “A few plays decided this one. We were all over the field on offense and defense and did some stupid things. We didn’t go all the way, but it was a fun year.”
The Griffins relied heavily on the run throughout the game, and freshman running back Brandon Garcia had a standout performance for Stanford. Griffins senior captain Kevin Kohler said he thought his team played well throughout the game, despite giving up points in the third quarter.
“We came out and got off to a hot start, going into halftime up 15-0,” Kohler said. “We got a little sluggish in the third quarter when we allowed a touchdown drive, but we came back and got a field goal. We weathered the storm when Dillon was starting to come back a little. I was happy about that, and we stayed tough.”
Walsh said the Big Red was riddled by mistakes on offense and defense, preventing them from being efficient on the field.
“We knew what we were doing, but a few times we just made stupid errors — dropping balls, missing tackles and not wrapping up,” Walsh said.
Looking forward to the next game, Kohler said the Griffins will not alter their game strategy and are ready to take on their rival hall Keenan.
“We don’t need to improve anything in particular,” Kohler said. “We’ll just be doing the same stuff: moving the ball on offense, stopping the run and pass on defense. We’re pretty excited to play Keenan because they’re our biggest rival on campus. It’ll be the ‘Battle for the Chapel.’ We’re looking forward to it.”
Stanford plays second-seeded Keenan in the semifinals on Sunday at 1 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.
No. 2 Keenan def. No. 7 Siegfried, 6-2
By Meagan Bens
Within the final two minutes, Keenan scored the only touchdown of the game resulting in a 6-2 victory over Siegfried.
The No. 7 Ramblers (2-2) and No. 2 Knights (4-0) were evenly matched and both struggled to put points on the board throughout the game due to each team’s strong defensive lines. Keenan senior captain Michael Koller said his team knew what it needed to fix at halftime to get the win.
“At halftime, Siegfried was up 2-0 due to the safety, and we realized we had a slow start,” Koller said. “We weren’t exploding as much as we thought we would, and they brought it harder than we did. We wanted to clean up our line to give our quarterback a little less pressure and that’s what we did the second half, which opened up our passing game a lot.”
Siegfried continued to lead 2-0 until Keenan’s final possession of the game.
“When Siegfried’s punter’s knee touched the ground, the game changed right there,” Koller said. “It gave us the ball where he stood before punting, and that’s a 50-yard game changer. We ended up starting on the 30 [yard-line], and it eventually led to sophomore Lukas Cepkauskas catching a pass in the end zone. He tends to get a lot of touchdowns in the playoffs. Last year we had two playoff games and we won both of them by one touchdown, and he had both. He continues to show up during the playoffs, and he is definitely a highlight-reel type of player.”
Despite the season coming to an end in the first round of the playoffs, Siegfried senior captain Mark Egan said the Ramblers had a good run.
“We played a great game and we worked hard all season,” Egan said. “We came out to play today and I am proud of the team. It was a long, good season, and we should have our heads held up high, and good luck to Keenan.”
Keenan moves on to the semifinals of the playoffs to face rival No. 3 Stanford in the ‘Battle for the Chapel’ at 1 p.m. on Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.
No. 1 St. Edward’s def. No. 8 Carroll, 7-6
By Patrick Skrine
Top-seeded St. Edward’s edged No. 8 Carroll, 7-6, on Sunday in the quarterfinals of the interhall playoffs.
The Gentlemen (4-0) escaped with the win after a hard fought contest in which the Vermin (2-2-1) failed on a 2-pt conversion attempt to take the lead.
It was a battle of the defenses as both teams found the end zone just once. St. Edward’s scored first with a run up the middle in the first quarter on fourth down. In the second quarter, Carroll got on the board with a touchdown pass through the air but could not connect on the two-point try.
The game saw no more scoring due to solid defensive play from both teams. St. Edward’s senior captain Phineas Andrews thought his team contained the Vermin on offense.
“Our defense did a good job of keeping them out of the end zone towards the end,” Andrews said. “They had a couple of drives where they were definitely threatening to take the lead.”
The Gentlemen executed on special teams and were able to make some key plays on both sides of the ball. Andrews said he likes where his team stands going into the next round but knows his team has to keep building.
“We’re always looking to improve our execution on offense and we need to communicate a little better in coverage on defense,” Andrews said.
Vermin senior captain Anthony Vallera was happy with the way his team played despite a tough loss.
“We fought hard considering the game was 7-6,” Vallera said. “Our defense played really well and for the most part we were able to drive the ball on offense.”
Vallera said the Gentlemen did a good job limiting the Vermin passing game.
“Defensively they didn’t let the big ball happen,” Vallera said. “They played off zone and didn’t let anything behind them which made it really difficult for us.”
Overall, Vallera said he is proud of the effort his team put forth this season and likes the way they battled, especially in both games against St. Edward’s.
While Carroll’s playoff run has come to an end, St. Edward’s moves onto the next round and plays No. 5 Duncan Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.
No. 5 Duncan def. No. 4 Alumni, 27-14
By Mia Berry
A strong second half helped No. 5 Duncan earn its first playoff victory in dorm history by defeating No. 4 Alumni, 27-14.
Early in the game, senior captains from both teams went down with injuries that forced them to miss the rest of the game.
Despite the unexpected injury to Highlanders junior captain Thomas Staffieri, Duncan started off strong with two touchdown runs by sophomore Micah Rensch to give Duncan a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Duncan sophomore running back Micah Rensch said he was proud of how his team responded after its captain went out with a concussion.
“This is for sure the best game we’ve played all season,” Rensch said. “Offensively, we clicked and scored four touchdowns and only had to punt once. Our defense also played great despite that one mishap on the punt. Right now offense and defense are playing lights out. Obviously we have our eyes on playing in the stadium. We’re hoping to get there, but to get the first playoff win for Duncan football is huge and history making for sure.”
Alumni capitalized on a special teams error by Duncan when junior linebacker Joseph Jared ran in a blocked punt late in the second quarter to cut Duncan’s lead to 14-6.
Alumni did not carry this momentum into the second half as Duncan dominated, outscoring Alumni 13-0 in the third quarter. Alumni attempted a comeback back in the fourth quarter when sophomore receiver Nick Waytula caught a 30-yard touchdown pass, but the Alumni effort was cut short as Duncan ran the remaining time off the clock for the win.
Alumni senior captain Nicholas Lund said he was proud of how his team responded in his absence.
“Of course I wish I hadn’t gotten hurt, but I’m proud of how our defense responded,” Lund said. “After I went out, a few plays later they were able to get a stop. Our team played well. Duncan was just able to stop our run that we had been feeding off of most of the season.”
Despite Alumni’s playoff loss, Lund said he is optimistic about the future of Alumni’s interhall program.
“Considering how much we actually practice, I would say we are definitely one of the better teams I’ve been on at Alumni,” Lund said. “I have no doubt that they will rebound next year and finish what we’ve started.”
Next week Duncan hopes to continue its playoff journey when it faces top-seeded St. Edward’s in the semifinals, which takes place at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.
No. 5 Breen-Phillips def. No. 4 Cavanaugh, 20-19
By Kyle Barry
No. 5 Breen Phillips score late in the game to defeat No. 4 Cavanaugh, 20-19, in the quarterfinals at LaBar Practice Complex on Sunday night.
The Chaos (4-3) started the first quarter firing on all cylinders as senior wide receiver and captain Alyssa Anton was responsible for the Chaos’ first two touchdowns to take a 12-0 lead.
The Babes (5-2), led by senior quarterback and captain Emily Affinito, overcame a 12-point deficit as Affinito scored two touchdowns of her own, including a 35-yard keeper to put the Babes up 13-12 late in the third quarter.
With the Babes down six points in the fourth quarter, Affinito scrambled for seven yards to tie the game up at 19. The Babes completed the point after with a pass from Affinito to junior Michele Pennala to take a 20-19 lead.
With the Chaos driving to take the lead before the game ended, Babes’ freshman Kristina Bonnet came up with an interception to secure the victory. Affinito said she was pleased with the result of the game.
“We did very well today,” Affinito said. “It took us a while to get used to the playoff environment, but I’m so proud of how we played tonight.”
Affinito said the defining point of the game was when Pennala caught the game winning conversion in the corner of the end zone. In order to be successful in the semifinals, Affinito wants to add more plays to mix their calls and throw opposing team off balance.
On the losing side, Anton said she was proud of Cavanaugh’s effort.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team this season,” Anton said. “For a young team, I thought we did very well. The girls enjoyed it, which is the most important, and I can’t wait to see how this group does next season.”
The Babes move on to the semifinals to play top-seeded Welsh Family on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
No. 1 Welsh Family def. No. 8 Flaherty, 13-6
By Ryan Lokhorst
No. 1 Welsh Family rode a suffocating defensive performance to a 13-6 victory over No. 8 Flaherty. The Whirlwinds never trailed, yet it was a hard fought battle the entire game.
In the first quarter, Welsh Family moved the ball well but was unable to convert once it reached the red zone twice due to a turnover on downs and an interception. The scoring opened up in the second quarter as two Whirlwind sacks set their offense up with good field position. They took advantage with a touchdown pass on the ensuing drive. Following a Flaherty interception, Welsh Family was able to double its lead with another touchdown pass to make the score 13-0 headed into half.
The second half was evenly matched as the Bears made adjustments on defense to slow the Whirlwind offense, and the Flaherty passing attack began to find success. However, timely sacks and an interception by Welsh Family kept Flaherty scoreless.
The Bears finally got on the board on a long touchdown drive near the end of the fourth quarter, which made the final score 13-6.
Flaherty still came away satisfied with its performance, as Bears senior captain Heather Lystad said she was disappointed in the result of the season, but felt that the touchdown made the loss easier to take.
“Things just didn’t go our way today,” Lystad said. “We played really well and we played hard. … The score without that touchdown wouldn’t really reflect how close that game actually was.”
Whirlwinds senior captain Ariel Navotas said she was especially impressed by her team’s defense and is looking forward to its semifinal match-up.
“Our defense continues to limit big plays and apply pressure on the [quarterback],” Navotas said. “Offensively, we need to focus on cleaning up our routes and securing the catch. Defensively, we need to place emphasis on flag pulling and tracking down any QB runs.”
While the Bears have been eliminated from the playoffs, the Whirlwinds play No. 5 Breen-Phillips in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Tuesday at LaBar Practice Complex.