Sundays are a busy day for Notre Dame students, especially football fans. After a full day of watching college football, Sunday becomes an insane day of playing catch-up and bemoaning their tendency to procrastinate while spending 10+ hours in the Hesburgh Library. The truly dedicated may attempt doing their homework in front of the TV, checking up on their favorite NFL team or their fantasy lineup.
While balancing all these items on your to-do-list may be stressful, it’s just the beginning. Because starting this Sunday, Sept. 22, interhall football returns to campus, and there is a plethora of teams that figure to be vying for the title. The twelve-team league kicks off with a pair of 1 p.m. games; Sorin College takes on the Griffins of Stanford Hall, while Dunne Hall clashes with Morrissey Manor. The Griffins will be eager to take the field after coming up just short of the title last year, losing a 6-3 defensive battle to the Siegfried/Knott team. The defending champions have a little bit longer to relish last year’s victory, as they don’t kick off until 3:30 p.m. against Zahm/Keenan Hall.
Stanford captain Emilio Arellano provides the Griffins with some experience as they look to maintain their consistent performance; Arellano was a freshman when they won the title last, and was a key performer on last year’s runner-up squad that came just short in the championship game held inside Notre Dame Stadium.
“Playing in the stadium is an unbelievable opportunity. It’s one thing to be up in the crowd on Saturdays cheering on the Irish, but getting to put on a helmet and pads and actually play on the turf is awesome,” Arellano said. “It’s my goal to get back to the championship so that these young guys get to experience that same feeling and hopefully bring a title back to Stanford.”
First and foremost, the Griffins will have to work through a division of Dunne, Sorin and Morrisey. Morrisey in particular poses a threat to Stanford’s success this year. They took the Griffins to overtime last year, a defensive slog that ended 3-0 on Stanford’s game-winning 25-yard kick.
“Morrissey was also a young team last year and we went into double overtime in the Semis with them last year, so looking forward to a competitive game again this year,” Arellano said.
Along with Arellano, Stanford returns top wide receiver Phil Vlandis as well as their dual-threat quarterback Kellen Round. Arellano also hopes to see some freshman getting in the mix.
“Dominique Smith and Josh Dippold will get the ball in their hands and make some plays for us on offense,” he said.
Outside of their division, Stanford will receive solid competition for the crown in Duncan Hall, which was upset early in the playoffs last season, and the defending champs, who return a strong core in captains Charlie Flanagan, Grant Murphy and Andrew Steiner. Steiner comes back as the primary quarterback with an eye on steering his squad back into Notre Dame Stadium for another championship.
Siegfried/Knott also gets the benefit of welcoming Ben Schrimpf in as a coach. Schrimpf led the league in receptions last year, but suffered a concussion that will keep him off the field this fall; however, that will not stop him from influencing his squad, as he takes his offensive mindset to the sidelines. Siegfried/Knott will face off against Zahm/Keenan, St. Edward’s Hall and the Duncan Hall Highlanders before heading to the playoffs.
Arellano listed Dillon Hall as another team to watch, due to their returning core and strong defense last year. Arellano’s game-winning touchdown reception eliminated the Big Red in the quarterfinals last year. Dillon’s bitter rival, Alumni Hall, will also look to be a factor in that division, which is rounded out with Keough/Fisher and O’Neill. The regular season games will be played on Sept. 22, Sept. 29 and Oct. 6.