Squads aim to earn berths to championship game
No. 2 Dillon v. No. 6 Morrissey
By Ellie Olmanson
With one game between both teams and the championship round in Notre Dame Stadium, No. 6 Morrissey (4-1) will take on the No. 2 Dillon Big Red (5-0) this Sunday to see who gets the bid to the finals.
Coming off quarterfinal wins, each team won by a single possession.
Dillon defeated Dunne 14-7 in a defensive battle while Morrissey just overcame Seigfried 2-0 in the last five minutes. Both of Morrissey’s wins in the postseason have been by two points.
Morrissey captain and sophomore Thomas Slevin said the team is looking to improve its offensive play while maintaining defensive stops.
“I think our major takeaway from last Sunday’s game is that we need to move the football better on offense,” Slevin said. “Our defense has played outstanding the entire year, but we need to stay on the field on offense and put some points up on the board. We definitely need to regain some of the balance we showed earlier in the year.”
Morrissey came into the playoffs on a two-game win streak, allowing only 19 points to Fisher during the first game of the season.
Dillon is also known for its defense. The team went undefeated all year and only allowed 13 points during the regular season. The Dillon strategy for this game will be the same as always according to junior captain Dillon Chao.
Dillon is likely to rely on the run as they have in the past, though with a focus on trying to take advantage of the passing game.
As for key players, Chao said that the Big Red will be looking for certain people to step up as the stakes continue to rise.
“[Seniors] Jack Mitchell, Pete McKeon, Dylan Volanth and [freshman] Curt Gouldin are all going to ball out this week, and hopefully I can keep up with those guys and come out on top with the win,” Chao said.
Before missing the playoffs last year, Morrissey had won the previous three interhall championships.
“We are looking to return to that,” Slevin said.
Slevin also mentioned players he expects to lead the Manor to the top on Sunday.
“Some key players for this game would be running back and linebacker [junior] Ryan Richelsen, tight end and linebacker [sophomore] Evan Slattery and quarterback and linebacker [sophomore] Andrew Ingram,” Slevin said.
No. 1 Breen-Phillips v. No. 9 Badin
By Peter Baltes
This Sunday, No. 1 Breen-Phillips Hall (4-0) is set to face No. 9 Badin Hall (2-2) in the quarterfinals of the interhall flag football playoffs. The winner will advance to the semifinals, moving one step closer to getting the chance to appear in the championship game at Notre Dame Stadium.
Breen-Phillips performed exceedingly well in the regular season, achieving an undefeated record and securing the only bye week available in the flag football playoffs. Senior captain Michele Pennala said she sees a team that has strength in virtually every position on both sides of the ball, citing that as the reason why the team has managed to perform so well.
“Performance-wise, our defense is very strong and smart; BP has had several interceptions, key flag-pulls, great quarterback pressure, and solid coverage,” Pennala said. “Our offense has picked up this year as well due to the intelligence and skill of our [freshman] quarterback Ellie Olmanson, a variety of routes and the speed of our receivers and running backs.”
Editor’s note: Ellie Olmanson is a sports writer at The Observer
Pennala mentioned Breen-Phillips’s bye week as a major factor going into the game allowing some time for extra practice and preparation.
“The team is reviewing the playbook and making sure we know our plays and defensive and offensive strategies inside and out,” Pennala said. “Since the season has started and continuing into playoffs, we’ve continued to practice and perfect catching motions, routes [and] flag-pulling.”
Besides Olmanson, Pennala cited senior linebacker and wide receiver Katie Sedor and freshman defensive line player and wide receiver Anna Wellen as two other players who are likely to make a big impact for the Babes on Sunday. Breen-Phillips will be looking to continue its success, and, according to Pennala, the sky is the limit for the team.
“We strive to be competitive, but also want to embody the fun, exciting culture of BP,” she said. “This team is so talented and dedicated, so we’ve just been constantly aiming for great play, motivated attitudes and overall victory.”
Badin is equally determined to find a way to win this week. The Bullfrogs are hoping to use the momentum gained from last round’s 12-0 win over Farley Hall to propel themselves to victory despite the challenge presented by Breen-Phillips. In recent weeks, senior captain Natalie McNerney said she has seen her team beginning to come together.
“We started out the season a little rocky but have definitely seen major improvements over the course of the season,” McNerney said. “Our offense is developing chemistry and getting time down right and our defense is really learning the fundamentals.”
McNerney is optimistic for the game’s outcome, and is looking forward to the Bullfrogs having an opportunity to showcase quality play and spirit.
“Our goal for this game is to win and have fun and show everyone what Badin is really made of,” McNerney said. “Both the coaches and players have put a lot of time and effort into this season, and we are not ready for it to be over yet so we will definitely come out playing hard and like we know how to.”
Among players expected to have a critical role on Sunday, McNerney mentioned senior defensive lineman Mara Parnell and sophomore running back Emma Bzik.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 5 p.m. this Sunday at Ricci Family Fields North, and the winner of this matchup will face either Cavanaugh or Flaherty in the semifinals.
No. 5 Alumni v. No. 9 Duncan
By Hannah Wozniak
This upcoming Sunday, No. 5 Alumni (4-1) faces off against No. 9 Duncan (4-1) in the semifinals. Both team’s captains said they are excited to be in the final four and look forward to a tough game.
Duncan captain sophomore Kyle Tomshack said that his team has prepared just like they have been this whole season.
“We want to keep our focus on this game and continue playing at a high level,” Tomshack said.
Tomshack also said that his team’s strategy is how it has been throughout the season.
“We plan on continuing to do what we’ve been doing so far this season,” Tomshack said. “Our strategy doesn’t change every week. If we play the way we can, then we can beat any of the other halls.”
He said the Highlanders are excited to be back in the semifinals for the second year in a row.
“It feels great,” Tomshack said. “We’re very proud that we can represent Duncan Hall. We made it to the championship last year, and hopefully we can make it two years in a row.”
The team is looking forward to another game together and furthering the team camaraderie as well.
“I’m looking forward to going back out on the field and playing with my Duncan brothers,” Tomshack said. “Most of the team played last season, so I’ve gotten to know many of my teammates quite well.”
According to Tomshack, a few Highlanders to look out for in this upcoming game are senior Matt Kase, junior Micah Rensch, sophomore James Warren and senior Declan Zidar.
“Matt’s been having a great year at quarterback for us,” Tomshack said. “Whether it means running or passing the ball, he gets the job done. Micah has been and will continue to have a great season for us at running back. James has been a threat on both offense and defense throughout the season. He’s someone Alumni will have to account for on every play. Declan has had a great season at defensive back. He’s a key part of our defense.”
Alumni captain and senior Thomas Hellios said that his team has gone over their game plan in preparation for the upcoming game.
“[We] reviewed our offense,” Hellios said. “[We are] doing our best to stay consistent. Our game plan has worked all season and there is no reason to change it now.”
The Dawgs didn’t give much away but did hint about their offensive and defensive strategies.
“Offensively we are going to stick to what we know and play tough football,” Hellios said. “Defensively we know they have some playmakers so we just have to play fast, physical football, get bodies to the ball and not let those guys get out in space.”
Alumni has had a strong defense this year. Hellios mentioned that last year one of the team’s weak points was its defense, and that the team has worked to build the unit back up.
Making it to the semifinals, the Dawgs are working hard and staying focused on the game.
“It feels pretty good, but there’s no need to celebrate yet,” Hellios said. “We have our eyes focused on one goal, and that’s making it to the stadium and winning a championship.”
The team is simply looking forward to playing a tough game.
“[We are] looking forward to a good match up,” Hellios said. “It’s my understanding that Duncan has an explosive offense, so it will be exciting to see how our defense stacks up.”
Alumni and Duncan will kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Ricci Family Fields.