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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
The Observer

Interhall season winds down, playoff bracket sets

Alumni def. Dillon, 14-7

By Darcy Dehais

Alumni and Dillon closed the regular season Sunday with a closely matched rivalry game that resulted in a 14-7 win for the Dawgs (2-1). Both teams played tight defense throughout the game, but it was ultimately decided by several costly offensive turnovers.

The game began in exciting fashion when Alumni senior Patrick Tinsley blocked a Dillon (2-1) punt in the first series and ran it back for a touchdown. Although the Dawgs missed the extra point, senior captain Nick Lund said this opening play set the tone for the game.

“In the first drive when we blocked their punt for a touchdown — that just riled us all up,” Lund said. “From then on out, it was a heck of a game to play. We were just having a lot of fun.”

Dillon immediately answered on the next series with several long runs resulting in a touchdown and extra point. Alumni sophomore running back Luke Dawahare made several big plays to put the Dawgs in field goal range in the second quarter, but Alumni missed the kick, putting the Big Red up by a point at halftime.

Dillon threw two interceptions in the second half, giving Alumni the opportunity to complete another touchdown and 2-point conversion. Junior Dillon coach Jeff Melsheimer said the Big Red would overcome this loss in the upcoming interhall playoffs.

“It was a tough loss,” Melsheimer said. “We could have prepared a little better. We executed fairly well. There were just a few bad plays, a few bad penalties and few mental errors that really cost us. We’ll bounce back, and we should be alright.”

On the other side, Lund said the Dawgs were also looking ahead to playoff games and plan to keep improving their game, specifically in passing efficiency on offense.

“We’re going to try to keep the same momentum going,” Lund said. “We definitely need to work on some of our passing and some plays. I really like what our run has been doing. We just need to keep honing everything down and making it better.”

As the regular season ends, both Dillon and Alumni have qualified for the playoffs. No. 6 Dillon will play No. 3 Stanford at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex, while No. 4 Alumni will take on No. 5 Duncan at the same time and place.

Carroll freshman Justin Buettner punts the ball during Carroll's 14-8 victory over Sorin on Sept. 25 at Labar Practice Complex. Carroll earned the No. 8 seed in the interhall playoffs.
Carroll freshman Justin Buettner punts the ball during Carroll's 14-8 victory over Sorin on Sept. 25 at Labar Practice Complex. Carroll earned the No. 8 seed in the interhall playoffs.
Carroll freshman Justin Buettner punts the ball during Carroll's 14-8 victory over Sorin on Sept. 25 at Labar Practice Complex. Carroll earned the No. 8 seed in the interhall playoffs.


Keough def. O’Neill, 14-0

By Patrick Skrine

In the final week of the regular season, Keough shut out O’Neill to capture its first win of the year.

In a low-scoring affair, the Roos (1-2) were able to find the end zone twice to earn a 14-0 victory over their rival, the Angry Mob (0-4).

The rivalry matchup was nothing short of a scrappy contest, as there were several penalties throughout the game and an O’Neill player was ejected late in the fourth quarter. Keough junior captain Daniel Childers said he was happy with the way his team played.

“We came out and ran all of our plays pretty well,” Childers said. “We definitely improved in all facets of the game, especially our offensive line.”

The Roos put a solid finishing touch on their season by cashing in on two scores, both coming in the second quarter. Keough was able to find some holes in the O’Neill defense with touchdowns, one coming by air and one from the running game.

O’Neill sophomore captain Charles Puntillo believes his team needed to execute better on both sides of the ball to win.

“Our defense played pretty solid, but offensively we have to move the ball better,” Puntillo said.

The Angry Mob were unable to get a win this season but Puntillo thinks his team made some significant strides this year.

“We got a lot better as the season went on,” Puntillo said. “Our defense has been solid all year and we improved offensively, but it was just hard to keep it consistent all year.”

Keough will head into next season with rivalry bragging rights while O’Neill will hope to take what it learned this year and build on it, as neither team will see the postseason this time around.


St. Edward’s def. Dunne, 17-6

By Meagan Bens

With a 17-6 victory over Dunne and a three-win regular season record, St. Edward’s will advance to the playoffs next weekend as a top seed.

When the Gentlemen (3-0) immediately scored a touchdown on their first drive, senior captain Phineas Andrews knew his team was going to win.

“The first drive which resulted in the touchdown determined the rest of the game,” Andrews said. “At halftime I thought we played well, and although they came out in different formations and tried to confuse us, we pretty much dominated the first half. The whole game they only had that fake punt play which resulted in a touchdown.”

Sentinels senior captain Joseph Schudt admitted the fake punt play was a unique decision resulting in a touchdown, but the St. Edward’s defense prevented Dunne from scoring any further.

“We never did the fake punt play before; we didn’t even draw it up beforehand,” Schudt said. “We just said we were going to do it and it happened. After halftime, we were hoping to get the ball back and march down the field and score. But our offense had trouble and it was hard to deal with St. Edward’s because they were very consistent on defense.”

While the Gentlemen continue their season, Andrews said the team will not be doing anything differently before playoffs.

“We will just keep practicing like we have been, to be honest,” Andrews said. “We don’t have any specific strategies. We will work on improving our blocking and blitz pickup, but I think we are ready to take on playoffs.”

As Dunne’s season has come to end, Schudt said he thinks St. Edward’s will move on and do well in the playoffs.

“St. Edward’s is a solid team offensively and defensively,” Schudt said. “When we played them today, there was not much missing from their team. They are well rounded. They didn’t give us any room and our offense struggled get past their defense. I’d say that they will do well in playoffs.”

St. Edward’s will move on to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed and will take on No. 8 Carroll at 1 p.m. Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex, while Dunne’s season has come to an end.


Duncan def. Knott, 20-0

By Kyle Barry

Duncan left the field celebrating after decisively defeating Knott 20-0 Sunday afternoon.

Highlanders (2-1) sophomore running back Micah Rensch was the workhorse on offense, as he was responsible for two touchdowns.

One of Rensch’s touchdowns was on a jet-sweep trick pass which he caught in the end zone to seal the victory against the Juggerknots (0-3).

“I had my best game of the season,” Rensch said. “Because of the blocking from the offensive linemen, the holes were absolutely massive and that led to consistent drives and touchdowns.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Highlanders shut out the Juggerknots by forcing two interceptions and keeping the Juggerknots on their own half of the field for the majority of the game.

Highlanders junior captain Thomas Staffieri was pleased and satisfied that his team was able to consistently move the ball well on offense and keep the Juggerknots off the scoreboard.

“The most defining moments of the game was when we utilized our two trick plays,” Staffieri said. “We’ve been practicing on them and it worked to perfection in this game.”

The Highlanders are now in uncharted waters, as they have clinched a spot in the interhall playoffs.

As for the Juggerknots, senior captain John Tulloh was disappointed about ending the season winless.

“It was a tough loss for us today,” Tulloh said. “We didn’t execute, and the lack of practice showed itself on the field, especially near the end.”

Despite losing in the end, Tulloh was proud of how the Juggerknots played hard until the final whistle.

Knott failed to make the playoffs, but No. 5 Duncan will face off against No. 4 Alumni at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.


Fisher ties Carroll, 8-8

By Ryan Lokhorst

Four quarters of play couldn’t separate Fisher and Carroll, as they fought to a 8-8 tie Sunday. The game was dominated by the defenses, as the only points scored were a result of turnovers.

Fisher (1-1-1) drew first blood with a first-quarter touchdown run by senior quarterback and captain Shannon Massey, set up by a long interception return by sophomore corner Alex Raymond. Raymond grabbed an overthrown Carroll (2-1-1) pass and sprinted across the field, weaving through would-be tacklers before finally getting tackled within the 5-yard line. Massey praised the play of Raymond.

“Raymond is an all around athlete,” Massey said. “He had a great game with two interceptions.”

The 8-0 score would not hold for long, however. Early in the second quarter, Fisher fumbled a snap and Carroll pounced on it in the red zone. A few plays later, the Vermin capitalized on the field position and scored a rushing touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion to even the score 8-8.

At the end of the game, Carroll elected to kneel to run out the clock rather than go for the win with 10 seconds remaining. Senior captain Anthony Vallera decided to play it safe in the end, knowing that his team was safely in the playoffs.

“We are already in the playoffs so we didn’t want to risk losing the game on some fluke play or have an injury,” Vallera said. “We always love to win, but it turned out alright for us.”

The Vermin now look forward to the playoffs.

“Their defense was very well prepared to play against us,” Vallera said. “So we have to learn from today, make some changes.”

Despite not making the playoffs, Fisher did retain ownership of the Crooked Stick. While the game was close and hard fought, the Fishermen ultimately left disappointed with the tie.

“I understand why they [decided to kneel],” Massey said. “But I wish they played because you always want one more play.”

The No. 8 Vermin barely secured a spot and will take on No. 1 St. Edward’s at 1 p.m. Sunday at LaBar Practice Complex.