Stanford Hall looks to bag second title in three years
Ellen Geyer | Friday, November 16, 2018
In Stanford Hall the most important football game of the week is on Sunday, not Saturday. And although Brian Kelly’s Irish are playing in New York, the Stanford interhall football team will be keeping Notre Dame Stadium warm.
Stanford (5-1) will face the final test of their season this weekend as they vie for the title of Interhall Football Champions against Siegfried on Sunday. The Griffins, who beat the Ramblers 14-7 in the first game of the regular season, will look to end their season with another victory.
But regardless of the stakes, for the Griffins it is “just another game,” senior captain and quarterback Chase Jennings said. Jennings, who has played for Stanford for four years, led his team through a regular season filled with ups and downs.
“We had a number of knee injuries early on in the season, so … we’re playing with a pretty drastically different team from the first game to now,” Jennings said. “But for interhall football it’s all about adversary and persevering through that.”
The Griffins certainly have showed their tenacity through the post-season as well, beating both Dillon (3-2) and Morrissey (3-3) to reach the finals against Siegfried.
“We played Dillon in an absolute hurricane of a game, in the monsoons.” Jennings said. “It was about 40 degrees and raining, which really is not conducive to interhall football.” Despite the conditions, Stanford captured an 8-0 win against the Big Red, a team who was also solid in the regular season.
“Then last week we had a nail biter against Morrissey in which we won three-nothing in overtime after we turned the ball over twice on — or, inside the red zone. But we pulled it out in the end.” Jennings added.
Jennings believes fixing these errors will be a critical part of ensuring a big win against the Ramblers on Sunday.
“The thing with interhall is, you don’t get really that many opportunities,” he said. “And so capitalizing on red zone opportunities and not turning the ball over, avoiding the stupid penalties which are drive killers, those are going to be all kind of the keys to the game. Staying composed in the stadium. We don’t want to let the bright lights get to you.”
Jennings, a dual threat quarterback, has primarily been running a spread offense this season, with the help of junior Emilio Arellano at wide receiver and sophomore Namir Argilagos at running back. Jennings considers the offense, who average 12.6 points per game, multifaceted with a lot of different weapons spreading the ball in space
The Stanford defense has also been a crucial component of the team’s success. During the regular season, Griffin opponents averaged just 8 points per game, and the only team they were unable to contain was Keenan, who handed them a 17-14 loss and ended the regular season at 4-0. Anchored by four-year veterans Anthony Stringer and Will Phillips, the Griffins have yet to allow their opponents a point in the postseason.
For Stringer, Phillips and Jennings, a strong postseason is not a foreign concept. The three seniors were crowned champions their sophomore year after they defeated Duncan Hall. But last year, Duncan came back out with vengeance, and handed the Griffins a loss in the semi-finals.
And vengeance could be a factor in this year’s matchup as well. Since receiving a sour start to their season at the hands of the Griffins, the Ramblers have won five in a row by an average of 4.4 points.
But regardless of their opponent’s win streak, Jennings is confident in his team’s abilities. The motto of their season has been “Be gritty,” so it’s only appropriate that his message to Siegfried is “We’re going to out-grit you.”
As seniors, the stakes are even higher for Jennings and his classmates as they will put their pads on for the last time this Sunday.
“This really means a lot. It’s kind of everything that I would’ve hoped for for my senior year season.” Jennings said. “Being that I’d been there before, like of course that makes me want to be there and win again that much more because knowing that, how much fun it was and how much camaraderie built for the dorm. So just trying to replicate that and kind of give back to the seniors that gave to me years ago.”
The Jennings-led Stanford team will face off against Siegfried this Sunday in Notre Dame Stadium. Kickoff time is scheduled for 4 p.m., following the women’s interhall flag football championship at 2:45 p.m.