Interhall playoffs continue as path to Stadium shortens
No. 9 Duncan def. No. 1 Stanford
By Peter Baltes
No. 9 Duncan (2-1) defeated No. 1 Stanford (3-0) by a score of 20-14 Sunday. Relying on an overwhelming rushing attack and stout defensive play to secure a commanding lead and fend off a second-half comeback, the Highlanders secured a spot in the semifinal round of the interhall football playoffs. For Duncan, it provided redemption after falling short against the Griffins in last year’s championship game.
On the opening possession, Duncan’s junior running back Micah Resch and senior quarterback Matt Kase gained significant yardage on the ground. However, after a touchdown-nullifying penalty, the ball was eventually turned over on downs. The teams subsequently exchanged a few punts before points were scored.
With less than two minutes to go in the half, the Duncan offense drove quickly down the field. Starting from their own 42, the Highlanders gained chunks of yardage off of multiple solid runs by Rensch to reach the redzone. Rensch capped off the drive with a nine yard touchdown run, making the score 7-0. The Griffins attempted to respond before halftime, but senior Duncan defensive back Declan Zidar made an interception on the drive’s first play, effectively sending the game to halftime.
Stanford opened the third quarter with the ball and failed to convert on fourth down. Duncan found the end zone again on the very next play, when sophomore running back James Warren sprinted down the sideline for a 43-yard touchdown, putting the Highlanders up 13-0. The Griffins would try to respond and almost reached the red zone, but Zidar came away with another interception.
As the fourth quarter began, Stanford picked up some momentum. Facing fourth down, the Griffins gained 55 yards on three consecutive pass plays, scoring on a ten-yard completion to senior wide receiver Tom Walsh, making it 13-7. However, Duncan’s offense stayed the course. Rensch’s rushing on the next possession would set up a passing touchdown by Kase, increasing the lead to 20-7.
The Griffins kept fighting and completed another touchdown pass, bringing the score to 20-14 at the two-minute warning. Duncan got the ball back and ran out the clock, ending the game.
Duncan sophomore and captain Kyle Tomshack said the outcome could not have been better.
“We prepared really nicely this week, we had a full practice [and we] got everybody in,” he said. “Our guys running the ball ran the ball excellently. They ran hard every time, and defensively we held our ground.”
Tomshack was also glad to see the Highlanders defeat Stanford after last year’s result, citing the memory of that loss as major motivation for this game.
“We had a lot of guys come back from last year’s team, and the only team that beat us last year was Stanford,” he said. “I think we really wanted to get them back for that.”
Stanford senior captain Matt O’Brien expressed regret that the season had to end so early, but was nevertheless impressed by his team and expressed strong hopes for the potential of his dorm’s football program in the coming years.
“I’m proud of the way that we fought back and made it a contest in the second half,” O’Brien said, “We never rolled over. I’m proud of the way the guys came out in the three games that we played. I think the future’s going to be bright for Stanford Hall.”
No. 2 Dillon def. No. 7 Dunne
By Ellie Olmanson
No. 2 Dillon (3-0) overcame No. 7 Dunne (2-1) by a score of 14-7 on Sunday to advance to the third round of interhall playoffs and clinch their spot in the final four.
The game was a back-and-forth battle with special teams highlighting the scoreboard. The first round of possessions were controlled by the defensive side with little movement of the chains.
Midway through the first quarter Dillon fumbled the ball and freshman Owen Lombardi recovered for Dunne. This set up the Sentinels to drive to the redzone.
Sophomore Dunne captain Michael Mancini helped lead this pursuit with a 25-yard gain along with other short runs. On third down, Dillon senior Jack Mitchell sacked the Sentinels to set them back from a touchdown. The field goal attempt was no good, keeping the score 0-0 through the first quarter.
During the second quarter, Dunne continued their pursuit with the running game. Mancini ran for multiple first downs to advance the charge. This momentum was set back when Dillon junior Brendan Roche caught a pick six for the first touchdown of the game.
Dillon went for the two point conversion, but the Dunne defensive line stopped the run attempt just short of the goal line. Dillon remained in the lead 6-0.
With a series that was littered with penalties and tipped passes, Dunne was not able to convert before the end of the first half.
To begin the third quarter, Dillon’s Mitchell had a big stop behind the line of scrimmage, before getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct. This advancement helped set up a halfback pass from junior quarterback John Ryan to Mancini to a wide open sophomore receiver Andrew Abbattista for a 35 yard touchdown. The extra point was successful to put Dunne ahead of Dillon 7-6.
Dillon’s next possession consisted of alternating running backs to slowly advance Dillon across the field.
After multiple successful fourth down situations, the Dunne defense put a stop to Dillon’s pursuit.
Another pair of series that led to little changes in field position, Dillon gained back possession in midfield.
A favorable change of momentum was felt on the Dillon sideline after junior quarterback Michael Cahill connected with junior receiver Chad Holtz, who had the catch of the game to set up first and goal. Holtz caught the ball with one hand and was just able to get a foot in bounds.
This successful pass was even more important to Dillon as they had been reliant on the run for most of the game.
Cahill put ahead Dillon through a quarterback sneak. Senior running back Peter McKeon is then able to pound through Dunne for the two point conversion, putting Dillon up 14-7.
With two minutes on the clock, Dunne scrambled for yardage to continue their season, but was eventually intercepted by Dillon to put an end to the game.
Junior Dillon captain David Chao said Hultz was able to be the turning point of the game for his team.
“We were slower to start than I would’ve liked, but at the end of the day we won,” Chao said. “Chad Holtz had a ridiculous catch on the sideline that absolutely was the turning point of the game. It helped give us the will to power through and get a touchdown.”
Mancini said he is pleased with how this season turned out but still has high expectations for next.
“There were a lot of ups and downs during this game but our guys kept fighting,” said Mancini. “Great effort from the boys, very proud of all of them. We’re moving up — didn’t make the playoffs last year this year we were able to get a big win first round. Hopefully next year we’ll continue to move on and make it to the stadium.
As far as semi-finals go, Chao said Dillon will continue with their normal game plan.
“Next week is the same as always,” he said. “Hardnose — run it right at them. Maybe we’ll throw a little more.”
No. 5 Alumni def. No. 4 Keenan
By Hannah Wozniak
No. 5 Alumni (2-1) came out on top against No. 4 Keenan (2-1) by a score of 12-11 Sunday.
The Knights set the tone with the game’s first points with a field goal. However, shortly after this, Alumni put points on the scoreboard with a touchdown. The Dawgs then tried for a two-point conversion, but could not reach the endzone.
The crowd went wild as Alumni intercepted the ball and eventually scored another touchdown bringing the score to 12-3. Again, the team went for a two-point conversion and missed.
The Knights gained two more points from a safety. As the they neared the end zone, both crowds were intense and full of energy. Keenan advanced down the field to score another touchdown, bringing the score to 12-11. However, their field goal attempt was blocked by the Dawgs, resulting in an Alumni win.
Keenan captain and junior Daniel Neuson was very proud of his team and said he looks forward to next year’s season.
“We had a really hard fought game,” Neuson said. “We had to come out on fire, and I think we hit hard. We played the type of football we wanted to play. In the end, these games are always really close. One play might make a difference, and it didn’t come out the way we wanted, but we are hungry for next year. We are ready to prove that we are the best team in the league.”
Neuson said he was proud that his team did not let Alumni out run them, something Alumni is known to do to their opponents. The seniors were recognized by their captain as being their key players for the game.
“We have some big personalities [from our seniors], and we are looking to fill those next year,” Neuson said. “It’s big shoes to fill.”
Alumni captain and senior Thomas Hellios said his team played “phenomenally well.”
“We had some big mistakes, some penalties that didn’t go our way and a couple missed assignments that led to big plays,” Hellios said. “Other than that we played consistent defense. A team that usually puts up three or four touchdowns a game, but we held them to a field goal and a touchdown. Offensively, we were able to move the ball and were a full fledge offense today. We had a lot of guys step up and make plays. We could’ve played better, but we played real well.”
Hellios said that the Dawgs owe the win to team effort.
“Everybody stepped in and made big plays,” he said. “[We had] good organization and a will to win.”
Hellios said the Dawgs are looking forward to next week’s games.
“We are going to keep our game plan going,” he said. “It’s late in the season, and if it’s not broken don’t fix it.”
No. 6 Morrissey def. No. 3 Siegfried
By Hannah Wozniak
Just after the rain ended, No. 6 Morrissey and No. 3 Siegfried faced off on Sunday for a spot in the interhall the semifinals. Despite the wet and cold conditions, the Morrissey Manor defeated the Siegfried Ramblers 2-0 after a safety, which were the only points scored in the game.
Both teams grew more intense as the game went on, having a few touchy moments that had to be handled by referees. The game ended with about thirty seconds left as the referees made the decision to call the game.
Siegfried captain and senior Mark Cerutti said that his team played “one sided.” He had no specific key players to mention, but commented on the defense as a whole.
“The defense did really well,” Cerutti said. “It was a tough one and a close game. Everyone played as hard as they could.”
The team will lose seven starting seniors, including their captain. Cerutti said the Ramblers look forward to next year’s season.
“It’ll be good, but it sucks to be leaving,” Cerutti said. “I’m good with everything we did this season. We put it all out there. We couldn’t tried any harder.”
Sophomore Morrissey captain Thomas Slevin said that his team played well defensively.
“[We] had a little trouble moving the ball, but our defense was outstanding,” he said. “We played a total football game. We have to move the ball better, but we played really well. I think that [our defense] is definitely why we won this game.”
Even though the offense didn’t score, Slevin praised them for their speed and teamwork.
“Junior Ryan Richelsen, our running back, ran the ball really well and played really well,” Slevin said.