November 27, 2013

Hobart, Fisher square off in other's backyard

More news about: Hobart | St. John Fisher
Steven Webb had another strong game on Saturday, including ripping off a 58-yard touchdown run on the first snap of the second half.
Hobart athletics photo by Greg Searles

By Joe Sager
for D3sports.com

Backyard football games are a tradition for many during Thanksgiving week.        

For St. John Fisher and Hobart, they’ll take that to a new level when they clash Saturday, Nov. 30, at noon on the Statesmen’s home turf at Boswell Field.

However, these two geographic rivals – located about an hour apart in Upstate New York – have more than territorial bragging rights are on the line. The winner advances to the Division III quarterfinals.

“It’s the playoffs, so every game is pretty important. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Fisher’s Mike Guinta said. “It’s pretty cool it turned out this way. We’ve played Hobart in the past. They know us pretty well, too. It’s a neat situation. It definitely makes it more of a rivalry game. We played John Carroll last week and we didn’t really know too much about them.”

Even though the two programs play in different conferences, there is a familiarity for the personnel and coaches.

“My boy from home goes to Fisher. He plays safety (Ryan Ballard). There is a kid (Brandon Fuentes) from Avon I used to play against in high school who is on defense. There are some familiar faces,” Hobart running back Steven Webb said. “It’ll be a Round 3. I played them my freshman and sophomore years and we went 1-1. This is the tiebreaker. It’ll be exciting.”

The close proximity is a bonus for both squads, too. Instead of a long bus ride, the Cardinals merely have to make the short trek to Hobart.

“It’s definitely more convenient to be about an hour away, especially with the weather conditions getting worse. We don’t mind a shorter trip,” Fisher’s Sean Preish said. “It’s definitely a little more personal with the close proximity and we know some of the guys and they know us. A playoff game is a playoff game, though. Both teams have their backs up against the wall.”

In addition to the rivalry, both sides expect a challenging game. The teams are coming off strong first-round victories. Fisher (9-2) went on the road to upset John Carroll, 25-16, while the Statesmen (10-0) rolled past Gallaudet, 34-7. 

“It is great that two of the top teams in the East moved on; to be playing in the Sweet 16 is a great feeling because there are so many talented players on both sides,” Hobart coach Mike Cragg said. “This matchup is really neat and the guys are excited for it.”

St. John Fisher quarterback Tyler Fenti is well-known to Hobart coach Mike Cragg. By first name, in fact.
St. John Fisher athletics photo 

The Cardinals rallied from a 13-0 deficit against John Carroll to earn the upset win.

“Our kids felt good about themselves. They hung in there and persevered,” Fisher coach Paul Vosburgh said. “It’s always tough to win on the road, especially against a good opponent like John Carroll.”

Fisher gained Hobart’s attention by forcing six turnovers and scoring 25 points against John Carroll, which boasted D-III’s top scoring defense.

“First of all, Coach Vosburgh does a great job. That defense has been coming up with a huge amount of turnovers, both fumbles and interceptions. They’ve been doing a really good job at that,” Cragg said. “Offensively, with (quarterback) Tyler (Frenti) and all the weapons they have, they are a very good football team on both sides of the ball. I expect a great game.”

The Cardinals’ defense has emerged as a force. Over the past three games, the unit has produced 15 turnovers. That’s a huge point of concern for the Statesmen.

“We have stressed that to anyone who controls the ball this game. They’re going to be looking to strip it, especially if the bad weather keeps up because that makes it easy to fumble,” Webb said. “Ball control will be a big key part to the game.”

Guinta has been one of defensive ringleaders. Against John Carroll, the senior defensive back recorded his fifth interception in his last six games.

“I am just doing whatever I can to help the team win,” he said. “Turnovers are a big deal for us. We have a little game where we have to get 5 turnovers in practice. If you win the turnover battle, you’re more likely to win the game so we do stress that.”

Guinta is part of an all-new starting secondary for the Cardinals.

“We didn’t have anyone returning in our back five. They are kind of just getting settled in,” Vosburgh said. “I think our defensive coaching staff is doing a great job. I think they have jelled together. We’re not doing anything special, but we’re just playing good football right now.”

Fisher’s defense faces another challenge in Webb and the Statesmen. Last week, Webb continued to his running mastery. He racked up 161 yards on the ground. His three touchdowns gave him 20 on the year, which is a program record.

“We game planned like we have all season. Our coaches stress a body on a body and it’s what our linemen do the best. If they can just keep a body on a body and not allow penetration, we will most likely win the game,” he said. “Once when we start getting the running game going, we can go to the air. We just did what we’ve been doing all season and we don’t plan on stopping. Hopefully, it’ll continue.”

The Statesmen got a scare when junior quarterback Patrick Conlan, a son of former NFL standout Shane Conlan, left last week’s game with an injury.

“He is back. He’ll be fine. He sprained an ankle,” Cragg said. “We gave him a couple of days off and he’ll be ready to go.”

Preish, who had a career-high 21 tackles against John Carroll, two shy of the program record, knows the Cardinals face a tough test.

“The 24-hour rule was in play with that win. It was a great win, but we’re looking ahead .We don’t want to focus on the past too much,” he said. “Hobart has a good offense. They are good up front. They have an underrated quarterback and receivers, but their running back (Webb) is their focal point. We know we have a challenge this week. We’re up for it. We can’t ask for more coming from an at-large berth. We just wanted a shot at the tourney. We got all we can ask for right now.”

Both teams were happy to see Ithaca, which plays in the Empire 8 with Fisher, advance to the Sweet 16 as well.

“I heard from a lot of people that the East was down,” Cragg said. “To have three in the Sweet 16 is pretty nice. It shows there is very good football in the East.”

The squads hope to put on a good display Saturday.

“This is a great time to be playing football and it’s always great to practice on Thanksgiving morning,” Vosburgh said. “It should be a great atmosphere. I think the people that do go to the game will enjoy it.”

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 4: All times Eastern
8:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Tex. A&M-Commerce
Audio
Sep. 5: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Anna Maria at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Albright at Kean
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Widener at Rowan
Live Stats Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
WPI at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats
7:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Bridgewater State
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
William Paterson at SUNY-Maritime
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Ursinus at TCNJ
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
Live Stats Video
7:30 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats Live Stats Audio Audio
8:00 PM
Waldorf at UW-Whitewater
Live Stats
Sep. 6: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Dickinson at Hobart
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Holland College (PEI, Canada) at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Otterbein at St. John Fisher
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
12:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at MIT
Preview Video
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
Video
12:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Johns Hopkins
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Cortland State at Buffalo State
Live Stats
1:00 PM
St. Lawrence at Coast Guard
Video
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Wesley
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton State
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
Audio
1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Averett
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Wabash
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Rose-Hulman at Kalamazoo
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Wilmington at Olivet
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Alfred State at Morrisville State
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Brockport State
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Montclair State
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Methodist
Video
1:00 PM
Marietta at Kenyon
1:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Apprentice
1:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Sewanee at DePauw
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Bluffton
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Adrian at Defiance
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
RPI at Norwich
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Alma at Heidelberg
1:30 PM
Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Bridgewater (Va.) at Gettysburg
Video Audio
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
Audio
1:30 PM
St. Vincent at John Carroll
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Bethany
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Franklin at Illinois Wesleyan
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Rhodes at Austin
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Platteville at Buena Vista
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Washington U.
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at St. John's
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Crown at Gustavus Adolphus
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Simpson at Iowa Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Hope at Monmouth
Preview Audio
2:00 PM
Lawrence at Rockford
2:00 PM
Carroll at Lakeland
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Audio
2:00 PM
Coe at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
Presentation at Luther
Video
2:00 PM
Martin Luther at Maranatha Baptist
Video
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Culver-Stockton
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at Dakota Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
Ripon at St. Scholastica
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Hendrix at Westminster (Mo.)
Video
2:10 PM
UW-Eau Claire at St. Thomas
Audio Audio
3:00 PM
St. Norbert at Carthage
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Puget Sound
4:00 PM
Lewis and Clark at Whitworth
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
College of Idaho at Pacific
Live Stats Video Audio
4:30 PM
Arizona Christian at George Fox
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Salisbury at Christopher Newport
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Case Western Reserve
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Stevenson at N.C. Wesleyan
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Butler at Wittenberg
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Taylor (Ind.) at Anderson
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Denison at Earlham
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Aurora at Illinois College
7:00 PM
Albion at UW-Stevens Point
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at North Park
7:00 PM
Beloit at Chicago
Live Stats
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Howard Payne at Trinity (Texas)
Audio
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at Millsaps
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Texas Lutheran
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Robert Morris-Chicago at UW-Oshkosh
7:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Dubuque
Live Stats Video
7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:30 PM
Central at Benedictine
Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
St. Olaf at Northwestern (Minn.)
8:00 PM
Hamline at Minnesota-Morris
8:00 PM
Lake Forest at Wisconsin Lutheran
Live Stats Audio
8:00 PM
Wartburg at Augsburg
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
8:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats Audio
Dec. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at UW-Whitewater 52, Mount Union 14
@ Salem Stadium; Salem, Va.
Recap Photos Photos
Dec. 14: All times Eastern
Final
UW-Whitewater 16, at Mary Hardin-Baylor 15
Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Mount Union 41, North Central (Ill.) 40
Box Score Recap Recap Photos

What We're Reading