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  • October 24The Notre Dame varsity football team will take on Palatine in the first round of the IHSA 8A state playoffs this Saturday, October 29 at 2 pm.

Sham-rocked!

Dan Weber, Pubs Staff

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We came. We saw. We conquered. The Shamrocks of St. Pat’s left Niles Friday night with an extremely salty taste in their mouths after being dropped by the Dons 25-7.

The Dons maintained  a 15-0 lead going into halftime led by two touchdowns from sophomore Ty Gavin and a defense that now has Coach Ditka himself tipping his cap. It was not until the second half when the game almost got a little too close for comfort. After senior Captain Michael Valdez went down with an ankle injury for a few plays, St. Pat’s took advantage and burned the Don’s secondary for an 88-yard touchdown, making the game 15-7. St. Pat’s looked to capitalize on their momentum and almost made the game a nail-biter. If it were not for an offensive pass interference call on St. Pat’s that brought back a touchdown, the game could have been tied. 

The Dons made sure to take advantage of this mistake and put together a long drive ending with a huge field goal from senior kicker, Michael O’Malley, bringing the score to 18-7. When he asked how he stays composed during big moments, O’Malley said he “focused on the ball and hoped it’d go through.” He added that the ball felt really good off his foot and that he felt relief when it went through the uprights “because the offense worked hard all game and it was nice to know that I contributed to that.”


With the game still within reach, the Shamrocks had to dip into their bag of tricks to score some quick points following O’Malley’s 30-yard field goal. Pat’s attempted a double halfback pass with about 5 minutes left in the game, hoping to catch the Dons off guard. St. Pat’s was left shaking in its boots when senior safety Matthew Doherty undercut the route, intercepting the pass and returning the ball deep into St. Pat’s territory. Ty Gavin proceeded to record his third touchdown shortly after the interception, making the score 25-7, and putting the game out of reach for St. Pat’s.

After listening to Doherty review the game, it’s clear that the Dons were not the least bit worried about a St. Pat’s offense that had been averaging close to forty points a game.

When asked about his interception, Doherty said “there’s no greater feeling than celebrating that turnover with the rest of the defense and my teammates. When we scored later, it just made that feeling so much better because we set that TD up with the interception. We were all extremely confident in our abilities as a defense, and we simply executed our game plan last Friday night.”  The Dons are currently 3-0 in the conference and 4-1 overall. Doherty added that this win was “a huge step in winning a conference championship for the second year in a row.”

With four games left in the season, the Dons have set themselves up to run the table in the ESCC and hopefully make an exciting push in the IHSA state playoffs. (Somebody might want to tell those Ramblers up in Wilmette that the men from Niles would love a chance to dethrone the champs.)

Our next challenge comes Friday night in Mundelein against the Carmel Corsairs, where the Don’s plan to improve their record to 4-0 in conference play and 5-1 overall. Shout out to the boys again for their dominant performance last Friday. Keep up the good work and Go Dons!

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Sham-rocked!