Interhall squads advance to quarterfinals
No. 3 Siegfried def. No. 14 Sorin
by Jack Zinsky
No. 3 Siegfried dominated No. 14 Sorin, 27-0, Sunday afternoon in round one of the interhall playoffs thanks to a great effort in all facets by the Ramblers.
The Ramblers (3-0) took it to Sorin (0-3) right from the start with a quick first quarter receiving touchdown by junior Pat Link and never looked back. The teams traded interceptions on the ensuing drives, but a short punt by the Otters led to a return touchdown for Siegfried senior Reid Fisher.
On its ensuing drive, Sorin executed the two-minute drill and got to the 9-yard line with 29 seconds remaining. Nevertheless, it could not convert on its next three plays and went into halftime trailing by 14.
The second half was more of the same. Sorin was never able to establish itself in the passing game consistently, which led to several turnovers on downs. Despite solid play from sophomore running back and captain Eric Requet, Sorin failed to put points on the board.
The Ramblers, on the other hand, continued to score touchdowns. Junior quarterback Mikey Bernard took it upon himself to carry the rushing load, breaking off two long touchdown runs to effectively seal the game for the Ramblers.
Happy with the win, senior Siegfried captain Mark Cerutti touted his team’s strong preparation and depth.
“We came out ready to win, and the long month off gave our team the time to heal up and build up our playbook,” Cerutti said. “We played very well on all fronts. Once again our depth really helped out. We have a team with 24 guys and we use everybody to win.”
He added that his team should maintain an attitude of stability going into the second round.
“Our main focus will be on sticking to what we’ve been doing the whole season,” Cerutti said. “We’ve never focused on who were playing, and we need to keep that mindset of focusing on our team.”
Siegfried will look to build on this performance next Sunday as it takes on No. 6 Morrissey at Ricci Family Fields at 2:30 p.m.
No. 4 Keenan def. No. 13 O’Neill
by Ellie Olmanson
No. 4 Keenan advanced to the second round of interhall playoffs after defeating No. 13 O’Neill, 28-8, on Sunday.
Keenan (2-1) was able to shut down O’Neill’s first drive, However, momentum shifted after the Knights’ punt receiver mishandled the ball, allowing sophomore Mobsters captain Brendan Burke to recover and give O’Neill possession on the 23-yard line.
The Keenan defense forced fourth-and-six for the Mobsters (0-3), and freshman quarterback Andrew Turzai and freshman Jack Peacock had a 10-yard connection to set up first-and-goal. O’Neill then ran the option and freshman Thomas Wine was stopped just short of the goal line. Running the fake option the next play, Keenan didn’t fall for it and stopped any gain.
After a false start, O’Neill had another fourth and goal situation. Turzai and Peacock made another connection for the first touchdown of the game.
O’Neill went for two, and the blocking by the offensive line gave Turzai time to look for the open man. Keenan tipped the intended pass, but O’Neill freshman Matt Sloan caught the deflection and made the score 8-0.
“We don’t have a kicker on our roster,” Burke said. “All season we’ve had to go for it on fourth downs and extra points.”
The first offensive possession for Keenan took place at the last minute of the first quarter. Keenan’s running back, junior Josh Redoute, monopolized the running game and consistently ran for large gains for the Knights.
After a 30-yard pass connection, Keenan set up its offense on the 13-yard line. It faced fourth-and-one, but Redoute pushed through to set up first-and-goal.
For two downs, the O’Neill defensive line stops the run attempt and holds Keenan to no gain. Junior quarterback Dan Lindstrom ran for the quarterback sneak to put the Knights on the board. O’Neill maintained the lead at 8-7.
The first play of their possession, O’Neill threw a pick six to Keenan that was intercepted by junior Lukas Cepkauskas. Keenan now led 14-8.
Keenan was able to hold off the O’Neill offense for the rest of the half despite long connections by the Mobsters.
In the beginning of the second half there was a delay due to an injured Keenan defensive lineman with a potential dislocated left shoulder.
Immediately following the break and a 15-yard penalty against O’Neill, the Mobsters mishandled the snap, which was recovered by Keenan, giving the Knights first-and-10 on the 13-yard line.
The score advanced to 21-8 in favor of Keenan after a 20-yard connection between Lindstrom and senior receiver and captain Greg Brainard.
The lack of kicker proved problematic for O’Neill. After going for it on fourth down and midfield, intentional grounding was called to give Keenan great field position.
The run again got the yards for Keenan to be able to set up the 30-yard touchdown from Lindstrom and put Keenan up 28-8.
O’Neill had the ball with five minutes left on the clock. Just before the two minute warning, the Mobsters converted a fourth down and eight on their own 38-yard line.
With a minute to go, O’Neill converted another fourth-and-11 play by running a halfback pass — Turzai to Wine who passed to a wide open Peacock.
Time ran out before O’Neill could score, finalizing Keenan’s advancement to the second round of playoffs. Burke said his team played well and would look forward to next season.
“Even though we lost, I am very proud and excited for this team,” Burke said. “We have a lot of potential, especially considering we’re only losing one senior this season.”
In Keenan’s eyes, the game was a test of focus, according to Brainard.
“O’Neill had good momentum in the beginning, but I really feel like we were able to focus and play our kind of game to be able to end up with the win,” Brainard said. “This week, we’re going to try to have some sharp practices to be mentally ready for our next game. This week is all about consistency.”
Keenan will play No. 5 Alumni on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ricci Family Fields.
No. 5 Alumni def. No. 12 St. Edward’s
by Jack Murray
No. 5 Alumni hung on for a victory against No. 12 St. Ed’s on Sunday afternoon, needing a little luck of the Irish to pull out the 6-0 win.
On a crisp fall afternoon, both teams elected for a run-heavy gameplan, which resulted in a relatively slow offensive first half of action.
The lone scoring opportunity in the half came after a major completion on a deep rollout pass from St. Ed’s junior quarterback Joe Kimlinger to senior captain Alex Schelhorn set up the Gentlemen (1-2) with a field goal try.
The Alumni special teams held strong though, as the resulting kick was emphatically blocked by a slew of Dawgs.
On the following Alumni drive, another strong stand from the St. Ed’s bend-don’t-break defense, led by linebackers Peter Haley, a freshman, and junior Joe Trzaska, held the potent Dawg offense out of the endzone once more to send both teams into the half deadlocked at zero.
In the second frame of action, Alumni (2-1) was finally able to gain the control it was looking for. After a key interception, the Dawgs drove down the field behind strong play from their running backs. After a few stops at the line of scrimmage, Alumni elected to go to the air.
The decision paid off in a big way, as a tipped ball from the St. Ed’s defensive backs somehow found the hands of an Alumni receiver for the opening score.
Attempting to mount a comeback, the Gentleman frantically attempted to pass the ball downfield to no avail. With time winding down in the game, another interception from Alumni sealed the win for the Dawgs.
Despite the loss, St. Ed’s captain Alex Schelhorn had a positive outlook on the game.
“I think our team played really well today,” Schelhorn said. “Defensively we only allowed one touchdown to a very good offensive team. We were able to stop their interior run game and forced a lot of fourth downs.”
While the loss ends St. Ed’s season, Schelhorn was very optimistic about the future of the team.
“The future is bright for the oldest dorm on campus,” he said. “We are only graduating four players, so Steds will be returning in 2018 with a lot of experienced players ready to make a run for the championship.”
For the Dawgs, the win means that their season will continue for at least another week.
They will take on No. 4 Keenan on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ricci Family Fields.
No. 7 Dunne def. No. 10 Knott
by Peter Baltes
On Sunday at Ricci Family Fields, No. 7 Dunne defeated No. 10 Knott in the first week of interhall football postseason by a score of 10-0.
In a penalty-filled game with major implications for both teams’ seasons, Dunne (2-1) was able to deploy a hard-hitting running game and make several momentum-shifting plays on defense in order to secure its spot in the next round of the playoffs.
Knott (1-2) began the matchup with possession of the ball and promptly moved downfield. While they incurred a few penalties on the way, the Juggerknotts were able to eventually enter the red zone after a series of successful runs and a deep pass from midfield to the 20-yard line. From there, the Juggerknotts fought their way to the 6-yard line. Dunne sophomore defensive back Mikey Briody then intercepted a pass in the endzone, dodging and weaving his way to Knott’s goal line. However, the touchdown would be nullified by a block-in-back penalty.
Taking over at the beginning of the second quarter in their own half of the field, the Sentinels would strike back. A pair of offsides penalties, a successful long pass, and several impressive rushes from sophomore running back Mike Mancini helped power a successful drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run by Mancini, making the score 7-0.
Knott would make an attempt to respond. It drove across midfield, helped along by a Dunne pass interference penalty and a fourth down conversion. Then, inside the 30-yard line, Briody once again dramatically ended a Knott drive, this time with a diving interception, taking the game to halftime.
Both defenses stiffened in the third quarter. The Sentinels turned the ball over on downs, and Knott’s first possession of the half resulted in a three-and-out. Dunne’s next possession gained little yardage before the Sentinels had to punt, and Knott’s subsequent drive ended much the same way. However, a short punt and more bruising running from Mancini set up a game-sealing 37 yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, cementing a 10-0 win for the Sentinels.
Dunne sophomore captain Hugo Kostelni was impressed with the Sentinels’ showing, and is proud that the dorm’s football team has achieved a major milestone.
“I think our guys really stepped up — it’s the first time Dunne Hall’s team has ever been in the playoffs,” he said. “It really comes down to building that tradition, and it’s a good thing to be a part of.”
Kostelni also said he saw strong execution on all sides of the ball, notably from the secondary.
“Our offensive line stepped up and our running game was strong, but it all came down to the defense, being able to stop their passes,” he said.
Senior Knott captain Carl Schiro also said he was proud of his team’s performance but noted that miscues had hindered its chances.
“I thought our defense played alright — we moved the ball pretty well,” Schiro said. “We just had some turnovers that kind of hurt us.”
Schiro was disappointed to see the season end prematurely, but he still sees a team that fought well throughout the season and has high expectations for the future.
“We were definitely hoping to go further, but we’ve got a lot of young guys, so that should be good for the future of Knott football,” Schiro said.
Next week, Dunne faces a daunting matchup against No. 2 Dillon in the quarterfinals Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Ricci Family Fields.
No. 9 Duncan def. No. 8 Fisher
by Paris Shirley
This past weekend, No. 9 Duncan began the single-elimination playoffs in stride by downing No. 8 Fisher by a score of 12-0.
Indicative of a first half that would be marked by strong offensive line performances by both teams, Duncan (2-1) began its first drive by relying on a strong run game between senior quarterback Matthew Kase and junior running back Luke Rafferty. On the following drive by Fisher (1-2), its own running game took it deep into Duncan territory before missing a crucial fourth down conversion due to a nice tackle courtesy of Highlanders sophomore linebacker James Warren.
Proving his mettle on both sides of the ball, Warren was electric when used as a change-of-pace running back in the Highlanders’ offense. The game’s highlight came on Duncan’s second drive when Warren took a sweep handoff 30 yards up the right sideline, juking past hapless Fisher defenders and scurrying into the end zone for the first touchdown of the day. After a missed extra point, the score read 6-0.
With the game well in reach for Fisher as it began its first drive after the half, a crucial juncture came when the Green Wave kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-short situation on their own 40-yard line. After coming up short on a run play and turning the ball over, the Fisher defense gave up a couple of big gains on the ground before allowing Duncan’s second touchdown of the day, a lobbed pass from Kase to a wide-open receiver in the middle of the end zone.
After going down 12-0 due to a missed two-point conversion by Duncan, the Fisher offense would not be able to muster the strength to mount a comeback. After a fourth quarter marked by the Green Wave allowing multiple sacks, the game was effectively closed on a trick play that ended in an interception.
In his reflection on the game, Duncan sophomore captain Kyle Tomshack noted that his team executed its game plan effectively.
“Going into the week, we wanted to minimize errors,” Tomshack said. “Our defense stepped up by not allowing big plays.”
Likewise, Fisher junior cornerback Daniel Blackburn touted Duncan’s defensive line that locked up in the second half.
“On offense, we couldn’t really get anything going,” Blackburn said. “Their line was aggressive in getting to the quarterback. That messed up some of our play calls because we couldn’t run the ball as much as we like.”
Duncan will aim to carry the momentum from this all-around performance. The action continues next week with a rematch of last year’s championship, as the Highlanders battle with No.1 Stanford at Ricci Family Fields at 1 p.m.
No. 2 Dillon def. No. 15 Zahm
Due to a forfeit by No. 15 Zahm (0-3), No. 2 Dillon (3-0) advanced to the quarterfinals of the interhall playoffs where it will face Dunne at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at Ricci Family Fields.