Dom­i­nant Notre Dame-GP gets de­fen­sive in shutout

Of­fense runs, but de­fense steals show vs. Pal­isades

The Morning Call - - Sports - By Tom Housenick

Joey Riv­i­tuso had that look in his eye. So did fel­low se­nior Wil­liam Jor­dan. The Notre Dame-Green Pond se­niors had a chance to grab some lime­light from their of­fen­sive team­mates and made a state­ment.

Riv­i­tuso and Jor­dan an­chored a de­fense that held Pal­isades run­ning back Mason Sme­land to 36 yards rush­ing and 164 yards to­tal of­fense in a dom­i­nant 27-0 vic­tory Fri­day night at Wal­ter T. Rohrer Sta­dium in Kint­nersville.

“Wekind of took a lit­tle bit per­son­ally that the of­fense gets all the attention,” Riv­i­tuso said. “We­came­out tonight and showed that our de­fense is pretty good, too.”

Notre Dame-GP (6-0 over­all, 4-0 Colo­nial League) got 121 yards and two touch­downs from stand­out run­ning back Matt Frauen and 259 pass­ing yards from quar­ter­back Collin Quin­tano.

But the game balls will go to the de­fense.

“Our de­fense is more ag­gres­sive this year,” Jor­dan said. “We have a new de­fen­sive scheme and it al­lows us to at­tack more.

“It fits us well.”

Jor­dan capped the Cru­saders’ de­fen­sive dom­i­nance with a fum­ble re­cov­ery on the Pi­rates’ last of­fen­sive play, but it was his hit and forced fum­ble (re­cov­ered by team­mate Ethan O’Neill) that was the fi­nal straw.

It came on Pal­isades’ first se­ries of the third quar­ter af­ter a Nick Gar­rido punt pinned the Pi­rates at their 1-yard line.

On the first play af­ter the punt, Jor­dan and O’Neill com­bined for the big play.

Two plays later, Frauen scored for a 24-0 Notre Dame lead.

“That was a big play for our de­fense,” Riv­i­tuso said. “That kept the mo­men­tum for us.”

The Notre Dame-GP se­niors re­mem­ber walk­ing off the same field three years ago as fresh­men in a sea­son-end­ing District 11 play­off loss to Pal­isades (42-7). It stirred up bad me­mories. “I read about that game this week,” Riv­i­tuso said. “I didn’t like the feel­ing we had that day.

“We wanted to make sure that didn’t hap­pen again.”

Fast start

Notre Dame-GP has been slow to start games in the first half of this sea­son, but had no such prob­lem Fri­day night.

Matt Frauen’s 5-yard touch­down run gave the Cru­saders a 7-0 lead with 1 minute, 27 sec­onds left in the first quar­ter.

It was a lead they never gave up. Gar­rido’s 25-yard field goal and Quin­tano’s 65-yard TD pass to Izzy Ro­driguez ex­tended Notre Dame-GP’s lead on its next two se­ries.

Mean­while, Pal­isades man­aged only 68 yards and two first downs (an­other by penalty) on five 1st-half drives.

Banged up

Sme­land suf­fered an arm in­jury on Pal­isades’ first se­ries and didn’t get his nor­mal num­ber of touches. He car­ried the ball only 11 times and was off the field for times through­out the rest of the game.

“You could see he wasn’t the same,” Pal­isades coach Ramie Moussa said. “But, no ex­cuses. They took it to us. We knew their front seven were good, but their se­condary was good, es­pe­cially their safety.

“This will be good for us. We’ll bounce back. We’ll find out if we’re a cham­pi­onship-cal­iber team based on how re­spond. I think we’ll be bet­ter be­cause of this.”

Fel­low se­nior run­ning back Ben Haubert also did not play much of­fense. He had one of his hands heav­ily taped.

Haubert did have a big game de­fen­sively with dou­ble-digit tack­les.

Third down a charm

The Cru­saders con­verted on third down in each of their scor­ing drives.

Frauen’s touch­down run to start the scor­ing came on third down.

Notre Dame-GP­con­verted twice on third down to ex­tend its next drive that ended with a field goal.

Then, the back-breaker: Quin­tano hit Izzy Ro­driguez on a 65-yard TD pass on third-and-13. It was the sec­ond 3rd-down con­ver­sion on that drive.

Up next

Notre Dame-GP hosts Pen Ar­gyl at 7 p.m. Fri­day. Pal­isades hosts Palmer­ton, also Fri­day at 7.

RICKKINTZE­L/THE MORN­ING CALL

Notre Dame-GP run­ning back Matt Frauen is taken down by Pal­isades de­fender Ni­co­las Petrillo in the sec­ond quar­ter.

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