Dillon, McGlinn take home interhall titles
No. 2 McGlinn def. No. 4 Flaherty
By Peter Baltes
On a frigid fall afternoon Sunday, No. 2 McGlinn (3-1) outscored No. 4 Flaherty (3-1) 21-18 in an action-packed championship game at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Shamrocks managed an impressive record and appeared in the championship game for the first time in several seasons, while the Bears found their way to the championship despite this being only Flaherty’s second year in existence as a dorm. In a matchup that pitted two high-powered, talented teams against one another, McGlinn was ultimately able to hold off a late-game rally by Flaherty in order to secure the title.
The game’s first drive lasted for almost the entire first quarter and was very back-and-forth, consistent with the character of the matchup as a whole. McGlinn quickly drove down the field, aided by a few long successful running plays and two different roughing the passer penalties on the Bears’ defense, one of which negated an interception. Despite eventually reaching the one-yard line, Flaherty’s stout defensive play forced the Shamrocks to turn the ball over on downs.
The flood of scoring would begin in the second quarter. Flaherty managed to move the ball past the 20-yard line on their first drive, but was forced to punt soon afterward. McGlinn would then score the game’s first points coming on a quarterback sneak from junior quarterback Belin Mirabile after a series of successful sweep plays. The subsequent conversion was successful, and the Shamrocks took a 7-0 lead. The Bears struck back quickly after a long catch-and-run set up a short touchdown pass, making the score 7-6. The Shamrocks would respond in kind, once again breaking off large chunks of yardage on sweeps before again scoring on a quarterback sneak and converting the PAT, increasing the lead to 14-6. With little time left in the half, the McGlinn defense came away with an interception, presenting the offense with a short field, which it capitalized on in very short order. For the third consecutive drive, the Shamrocks notched seven points, bringing the scoreboard to 21-6 at the half.
For the entirety of the third quarter, it seemed certain that McGlinn would maintain its 15-point lead. Flaherty’s first drive appeared promising, but the Bears ultimately failed to convert on fourth-and-one from near midfield. McGlinn punted after three plays after it got the ball next, and the following Flaherty possession came up empty, ending in an interception.
The game’s final period featured a dramatic, if ultimately unsuccessful, comeback. After McGlinn was forced to punt early in the quarter, the Bears’ offense grabbed a first down on fourth-and-long, and then managed to connect for a 53-yard touchdown pass, making the score a more manageable 21-12. Flaherty got the ball back again with a minute remaining, finding its way into the red zone with yet another big passing play, and then scoring on a short five-yard pass. However, with the failure of the following 3-point conversion attempt, the Bears were left three points short, the score being 21-18 in favor of the Shamrocks. McGlinn avoided the fourth quarter scare, and netted a championship win for their dorm.
Flaherty senior captains Annie Batcheller, Jacklyn Cooney and Molly McClure may have been disappointed to not have pulled out a win, but they said were very proud of their team’s performance in this game and throughout the entire season.
“We feel pretty proud with how we played today, definitely no regrets with our game today,” McClure said, echoing her fellow captains’ sentiments.
For Flaherty to reach the stadium in only their second season was exceptional, noted the captains, and their potential for future success is very high.
“I think this helped establish a Flaherty community,” Cooney said. “We’re a new dorm, and we don’t have a lot of traditions to our name. I think this is a great way for our dorm and the girls on the team to get out there and become what Flaherty will be.”
“We’ve got a great group of underclassmen, and we think that [next year] they will stay in contention,” McClure said.
For senior McGlinn captains Catherine Badart and Elizabeth Crimmins, the championship win was an unforgettable experience, and one that was the result of plenty of hard work and dedication from the team as a whole.
“[It was] more emotional than anything else, just because it’s our last game, and the fact that it could be in the stadium made it even better,” Badart said.
At many points in the game and especially in the second quarter, McGlinn’s offense was able to move almost at will. Badart said dominant offensive play, coupled with a turnover-producing defense, was the main reason the Shamrocks pulled out a win.
“It was probably the best game we played all season,” Badart said. “The offense was on fire, the defense was on fire and I’m super happy with the way we came to together. It was really awesome today to have our offense come out there today and put up a big lead, that was really great.”
The captains credited McGlinn’s talented freshman class and Mirabile’s play as being another key to a successful season and a championship victory.
“A lot of our freshmen shined today,” said Crimmins.
“[Mirabile] did an awesome job with some more audibles and making some of the calls herself,” Badart said. “She’s matured so much as a quarterback over the past few years.”
And for the Shamrocks, it seems that the sky’s the limit, according to Crimmins.
“I think they’re going to be amazing [next year],” Crimmins said. “The chemistry on this team is incredible. I think they’re totally going to continue it. It’s become a tradition.”
No. 2 Dillon def. No. 9 Duncan
By Ellie Olmanson
The 2017 men’s interhall football league came to a close this Sunday in a hard fought battle between No. 2 Dillon (3-0) and No. 9 Duncan (2-1) in which Dillon emerged victorious by a score of 2-0, finishing its season undefeated under the lights of the Notre Dame Stadium.
As anticipated, the size and skill of each defensive line geared up to prevent any offensive scoring of either team.
Dillon showed success through the running game, only attempting five passing plays throughout the game and completing two of those attempts.
Duncan had a variety of plays in its book, though it struggled with protection of the quarterback through the game.
The first series began with Dillon forcing a fumble off a quarterback run to gain possession at midfield.
Dillon reverted to a combination of freshman Curt Gouldin and senior Peter “Bowling Ball” McKeon to bulldoze through Duncan and gain yards for the Big Red.
Junior quarterback Michael Cahill converted an early fourth-and-short to continue the series for Dillon, but eventually the offense was shut down and forced to punt.
A punt sent by Dillon set up Duncan on its own one-yard line. Two short gains followed by Dillon freshman Owen Lombardi nearly intercepting a pass on the line forced fourth down for Duncan.
A mishandled snap to the Duncan kicker failed any advancement of the ball, and the Dillon defensive line took advantage of this play with a safety. With 1:25 left to go in the first quarter, Dillon had a 2-0 lead.
Dillon maintained most of the possession during the second quarter. Gouldin drilled through holes provided by the Big Red offensive line to continue the advancement of downs. Later, Dillon senior Jack Mitchell made a big block to turn a loss of yard into a solid gain of ground.
The Duncan defense also proved its place in the championship. Duncan junior Hank Assaf stopped Dillon’s run beyond the line of scrimmage to force third-and-long followed by a delay of game penalty.
Duncan gained possession back with seven minutes to go in the first half.
Highlanders freshman receiver Aidan Murphy held a vital role in the Duncan offense as Murphy was constantly targeted.
Duncan faced a fourth-and-short situation and was able to convert through a pitch to junior Micah running back Rensch. Rensch had open space to gain major yards for the Highlanders, but Dillon freshman Zach Wall had a big tackle to stop the rush. Faced with third and long, Duncan was not able to get the first because of Dillon junior David Brann who sacked Duncan.
After this sack, the Dillon sideline broke out into a “Rudy” chant.
“Since freshman year, someone said Brann looked like Rudy,” Chao said. “Since then everyone has printed out pictures of Rudy from the movie except with his face on them, and put them all around Dillon.“
The last two minutes of the first half had the potential to shift momentum for both teams, but was that not fully capitalized on.
Dillon first fumbled the ball on their 30-yard line, which is recovered by Duncan senior David Bodziony.
Within six seconds, Dillon forced the Highlanders to fumble, giving Dillon possession again on the 26-yard line.
Dillon tried to end the half with a field goal, but the 34-yard try was too short.
Halftime was filled with excitement from both fan sections bringing their A-games. Duncan provided a mini-marching band and played the Notre Dame fight song.
The third quarter was relatively quiet as it was mainly run down on account of both teams turning to the rush to advance the ball.
Still 2-0, Duncan had possession to begin the fourth quarter and looked to be in pursuit of the endzone. Rensch had a long run followed by Murphy making a clutch catch and first down as senior quarterback Matthew Kase scrambled just enough to not get taken down.
Kase then made a connection as he was being hit to allow for another long gain for Duncan.
With less than six minutes on the clock, Duncan went for it on fourth down, converted, but a holding call pushed it back further. This attempt was broken up by Dillon sophomore Steven Arnone, who also broke up a key pass a few plays before.
Dillon’s possession was lead by Gouldin who had a 20-yard gain.
Duncan junior Conner Futa helped force a fourth down attempt by Dillon through big tackles. On the conversion, Dillon made a passing connection that was an inch short of the first down.
The Highlanders had the ball on their 23-yard line with two minutes to go in the game. Dillon then stopped this burst of momentum with a sack to set Duncan back further.
Duncan was not able to convert the next set of downs, which resulted in giving Dillon possession of the ball, allowing the Big Red to end the game.
Duncan sophomore captain Kyle Tomshack attested to the hard fought nature of this game.
“Both teams played great,” said Tomshack. “I’m so proud of our guys. We tried our best on every single play and just had a few bounces not go our way.”
Looking to the future, Tomshack said the Highlanders will be missing many seniors, but are looking to the younger athletes to continue the pursuit of a championship title.
“There are a bunch of guys who didn’t get to play as much because of the seniors, so we’ll be looking to them to continue to improve for next year,” Tomshack said.
After the first interhall football win for Dillon in recent history, Chao expressed how surreal of an experience the season had been.
“This is the most ridiculous interhall score I’ve ever seen,” Chao said. “I definitely thought it would come down to a ridiculous score like that, especially a safety, so the fact that we were able to get that so early on was really critical.
“ … We say, bend don’t break, and that’s exactly what we did. This was the greatest football game I’ve ever played in.”