As you may or may not have heard, the Fairfield Ludlowe football team pulled off its second consecutive win over archrival Warde, with a 24-14 win at Taft Field. Ludlowe was opportunistic, forcing four Warde turnovers, two of which went for touchdowns. The Falcons run defense also shut down the Mustangs’ All-FCIAC fullback Tommy McNamara, holding him to just 14 yards rushing. Warde managed just 88 yards rushing for the game.
The game changed really quickly at the end of the second quarter. Warde stopped Ludlowe on a goal line stand at the end of the first quarter, and took the ball over at its own 1-yard line. The Mustangs held the ball for 9:40 moving it to the Ludlowe 19-yard line. Warde converted a pair of fourth downs on the drive, including a fourth-and-nine that set the Mustangs up at the 19.
But the very next play, Eric Burns threw towards receiver Terrell Walden. A Ludlowe defender tipped the ball, then it hit Walden and popped up into the air and into the hands of Nick Rossomando. Rossomando ran 90 yards to the end zone to put Ludlowe ahead 7-0.
Ludlowe kicked off to Warde and on the Mustangs’ next play from scrimmage, McNamara was stripped and the ball was picked up by the Falcons’ Steve Gasper, who took the ball 40 yards to put the Falcons up 14-0.
Ludlowe had scored twice in 13 seconds and hadn’t possessed the ball at all in the second quarter. Yet the Falcons had two defensive scores to put them up by 14.
Things didn’t get any better for Warde. Kicker Zach Garoffolo’s kickoff sailed towards the sideline where Walden over ran the ball and slipped. The first player to the ball was a Ludlowe player and the Falcons were set up again at the Mustangs’ 10-yard line.
I heard through the grapevine that Walden didn’t know that the ball was a fumble, and that was why he didn’t make an effort to field it. I could hear Warde head coach Duncan DellaVolpe screaming “pick up the ball Terrell!” from the sideline.
The Warde defense, which played tough all day, held Ludlowe to just a 21 yard field goal from Garoffolo.
Warde scored twice in the second half. Once when Mustangs’ MVP, Alex Delaney, took a swing pass and went 30 yards to paydirt. The other came when Mike Jacob scored from two yards out off of a Ludlowe fumble.
But Ludlowe MVP, Nate Ryan, iced the game with his 72-yard sweep run that put the Falcons ahead by 10, 24-14.
This is Ludlowe’s third win in the series since the Fairfield publics renewed their rivalry in 2005. Warde had won the previous two.
To read my game story from the Connecticut Post click here http://www.connpost.com/sports/ci_13874430
on his team’s three second quarter turnovers: “The game turned in three minutes.”
on McNamara’s fumble: “Tommy doesn’t fumble. I don’t blame him, they made a nice play.”
on his team’s response to the 17 points allowed: “To give up 17 points in a three minute span, a lot of teams would tank it and we didn’t.”
on Warde’s interception: “We were going into score and I probably called the wrong play. The kids played hard and I probably blew it.”
on his graduating seniors: “I’m devastated those kids are leaving. They put in so much effort… I’ll miss those guys, but I told them, ‘next year is for them.”
Ludlowe head coach Matt McCloskey
on beating Warde for the second year in a row: “It means that the program is starting to turn. From where this was these kids, they believed in the system and it worked.”
on his team forcing three second quarter turnovers: “It was the turning point of the game. Our defense has been great all year.”
on Warde: “They’re a good football team. He took a program that has the same amount of trouble that we had and turned them around in one year. That’s commendable.”
Ludlowe quarterback Rob Ferrara
on personally beating Warde two years in a row: “It is great…It is a great way to go out, beating them twice in the last two years.”
on the Ludlowe defense: “Warde has some good backs, but when our defense needed to make a play they did.”
on Ludlowe’s second half time of possession: “We really put it on our offensive line at halftime, they put it on themselves. We were just telling them to hold their block for one more second and we’d make plays.”
Ludlowe running back Nate Ryan
on being the Ludlowe MVP: “It’s really nice. I want to come out and lead the team next year. I dedicate everything to the seniors.”
on shutting down Warde’s running game: “We had a lot of great turnovers, we just went after them. We had to stop McNamara as we were successful at and our defense was stellar as always.
on having a winning season after being 1-9 two years earlier: “All of the hard work from August to today paid off with this one victory.”
Other town Thanksgiving games
Fairfield Prep capped a winless season with a 36-14 loss to West Haven. The Jesuits will be back next year. For more on this game, click here. http://www.connpost.com/sports/ci_13874434
Notre Dame won its fourth game of the year, including its third in four games winning, 7-0 over Immaculate on Wednesday night. ND had a nice little competitive year for itself. Mike Cardillo’s Connecticut Post story is here hthttp://www.connpost.com/highschoolfootball/ci_13870914
As always, you can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pickensfcsports. Hope you all had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and as always, take good care.