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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Squads set to close out regular season

Stanford v. Siegfried

By Brennan Buhr

Stanford and Siegfried are set to clash on Sunday in what will be a fierce battle for playoff positioning as the regular season comes to a conclusion.

For the Griffins (2-1), the season began smoothly with two solid wins over Duncan and Knott. However, the Griffins took a step back two weeks ago with a blowout defeat to Morrissey. Stanford senior captain Kevin Kohler emphasized the sense of urgency his team must feel in order to perform well in the high-pressure game.

“We are treating the game as a must-win,” Kohler said. “We are going into this game feeling like if we don’t win, we might not make the playoffs. We are treating it like a playoff game.”

In particular, Kohler has prepared his defense to be ready for the Siegfried passing game that has made a few key big plays in its first two games.

“We will definitely be running some prevent defense this week, as they have had some luck with throwing the long ball,” Kohler said. “We are definitely going to keep an eye on that and hope we don’t let up anything over the top.”

On the other side of the ball, the Ramblers (2-0) look to build off wins against Morrissey and Knott and clinch a top seed with a win on Sunday. Senior captain Daniel Verzuh has a clear and consistent message for his team as it prepares for the game.

“‘Any given Sunday’ is the model they use in the NFL and it translates even better to interhall football,” Verzuh said. “Stanford looked like the team to beat, up until their last game when they were trounced by Morrissey. So you never know what to expect week-to-week. All we can do is try to play our best football and work on improving ourselves.”

Like Kohler, Verzuh understands the magnitude of this final regular season game on his team’s playoff positioning.

“If we win this weekend, we will get the number one seed in the division, but if we lose, we might not make the playoffs at all,” Verzuh said. “That’s the folly of a three- or four-game regular season. The difference between going 3-0 and winning the division and going 2-1 and fighting for a wild card spot is very real. Every week is a must-win based on how sensitive the schedule is. We feel like we are already in the third week of the playoffs, and every win is a gift. We need to take care of business.”

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.


Alumni v. Dillon

By Darcy Dehais

Undefeated Dillon will take on rival Alumni on Sunday in the last game of the interhall regular season with both teams eligible for playoff bids.

Dillon (2-0) enters the game with little experience due to an opposition forfeit in the first week of the season. Big Red junior captain John Walsh said the team learned from mistakes in its last game and is prepared to win this weekend.

“We didn’t know who should be doing what on our team and what our strengths and weaknesses were,” Walsh said. “Once we finally played Keough, we sorted a lot of that out. We’ve made a bunch of changes since then, and I think this weekend will come down to just executing the changes we made. If we can do that, we will put ourselves in a good position to win.”

Alumni (1-1) goes into the weekend with a 28-0 win over O’Neill and a 14-0 loss to Keenan.

“No one on campus has seen a Dillon versus Alumni interhall game,” Walsh said. “This is the first time we’re going to see them, and I think it will be pretty cool to finally play against our so-called rival. I think we should have a lot of guys out there watching and cheering on the Big Red.”

Following its game against Keough, Dillon slightly altered its lineup and game strategy and Walsh said he hopes the changes will lead to success for Big Red.

“We’re not changing the way we play offense or the way we play defense. It’s more the way we use guys,” Walsh said. “A couple kids made position changes, and the idea behind that was to keep guys fresh. There were some guys against Keough that ended up playing too much, and we didn’t necessarily have a backup for them to come off the field. We’re going to try to shuffle guys around and more effectively use the 24 men on our roster.”

Dillon and Alumni kick off on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.


St. Edward’s v. Dunne

By Meagan Bens

With the final regular season game on Sunday, St. Edward’s and Dunne will compete to add another win to their records and increase their chances of moving on to the playoffs.

Leading the dorm’s first team, Dunne (1-1) senior captain Joseph Schudt noted the team has already progressed throughout the season.

“Since we all came from different dorms or are new students here, none of us knew each other at the beginning,”Schudt said. “By now we definitely know the league, each other and our game. As a captain I’ve gotten to know all of them and I’ve seen us gradually work together better each game so far.”

Despite the week off, St. Edward’s (2-0) senior captain Phineas Andrews said the team is ready to take on its opponent and hopefully start the playoff season.

“We had a practice Thursday before break and we have a practice this week, so I think we will be in good shape for Sunday,”Andrews said. “Being 2-0 and having a good group of talent among our juniors and seniors, hopefully we can step it up from previous seasons and go farther into the playoffs after this game if all goes well.”

With a .500 record, Schudt said the upcoming game could possibly be the last game he will play.

“If we beat St. Edward’s, we might make it to the playoffs, depending on the tie breaker,”Schudt said. “Personally, I’m just looking forward to having fun this game and just enjoying playing, since it can be my last game here at Notre Dame. Hopefully we will play well, get the W and have another shot playing in the playoffs.”

On Sunday, St. Edward’s will face Dunne at 2:15 p.m. at LaBar Practice Complex.


O’Neill v. Keough

By Patrick Skrine

O’Neill will square off against rival Keough on Sunday to close out the regular season.

Both squads are looking for their first wins of the season, so the rivalry continues be a heated one. Sophomore O’Neill captain Charles Puntillo is excited about this contest and knows what it will take for his team to earn bragging rights.

“Keough is our biggest rival, so this is a huge game for us,” Puntillo said. “We need our offense to help us win the field position battle and our defense to remain solid.”

The Angry Mob (0-3) will look to test Keough on defense by utilizing their running game and maintaining possession of the ball.

Keough (0-2) junior captain Daniel Childers believes his team will need to execute and play with intensity in order to top the Angry Mob.

“We are not preparing anything special, we just have to finish games and move the ball more effectively,” Childers said. “As long as we come out with a bunch of energy we will be fine.”

The Roos have not been able to watch rival O’Neill play this year, but Childers is confident that they will come out ready to play.

The Angry Mob and the Roos will look to conclude their regular seasons on a positive note when they face off at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.


Duncan v. Knott

By Kyle Barry

Duncan and Knott will battle for playoff spots when they match up this Sunday.

The Highlanders (1-1), led by junior captain Thomas Staffieri, feels that his team has bounced back well since losing to Stanford in week one and knows that this weekend is necessary to bolster the Highlanders’ playoff chances.

“We have playoff implications on the line,” Staffieri said. “We need to boost our standing by scoring as [many] points as possible and for our defense to not lose focus.”

Although the Highlanders are missing a few key linemen, Staffieri is confident that with his team's fast-paced offense, led by junior quarterback Matthew Kase and himself, they will be able to out-run Knott (0-2).

The Juggerknots (0-2) will need to beat the Highlanders in order to keep their season alive.

Senior Knott captain John Tulloh is looking to use his team’s run-first offense as its strength this Sunday.

Tulloh believes that in order to be successful in this game, the Juggerknots will have to slow down the Highlanders’ up-tempo offense, minimize turnovers and turn their excitement into a victory.

Duncan and Knott will face off at 1 p.m. Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.


Fisher v. Carroll

By Ryan Lokhorst

The Vermin and the Fishermen will fight for ownership of the Crooked Stick in a traditional rivalry game that has added significance this year due to both teams’ position in the playoff picture.

Carroll (2-1) senior captain Anthony Vallera said that there is no need for extra motivation with the rivalry game looming.

“It’s always fun to play Fisher, especially because the winner gets ownership of the Crooked Stick for a year,” Vallera said.

As well as the players on the field, the entire halls are getting involved, according to Fisher senior captain Shannon Massey.

“[Our] rector puts a lot of emphasis on the game,” Massey said. “He has a running bet with the Carroll rector.”

Fisher (1-1) will rely on its speed and athleticism to retain the Crooked Stick, but will stick to the same game plan as the rest of the season.

“We are smaller than last year, but we are faster and more athletic,” Massey said. “We want to play physical and just have fun and enjoy it.”

Vallera said that Carroll will attempt to maintain a proficient aerial attack.

“We’ve got strong guys on offense and defense,” Vallera said. “But [junior quarterback] Tyler Troxell has been throwing the ball really well so we’ll be looking to continue that against Fisher.”

As for the concern about the small number of players on the team, Vallera feels the Vermin will need all hands on deck.

“We all need to be ready to play come game time,” Vallera said.

Carroll will take on Fisher at LaBar Practice Complex at 2:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon.