FAIRFIELD -- The Fairfield Prep boys soccer team is widely considered one of the favorites to compete for the Class LL state crown.
Molina and Johnson teamed up for the game's lone goal as the third-seeded Jesuits held off No. 29 Fairfield Ludlowe 1-0 in the Class LL state tournament's first round on Friday at Alumni Field.
"Those guys have earned our respect," Prep coach Ryan Lyddy said of Johnson and Molina. "I think some of the seniors on this team feed off them, because they play so simply and simplicity works."
The Jesuits advance to Monday's second round where they will play the winner of Hall/New Milford. No. 14 Hall will play host to 19th-seeded New Milford Saturday at 11 a.m.
Falcons' goalkeeper Ryan Arrigo stopped six shots as Ludlowe ended its season 6-9-2.
"It's always disappointing when you lose," Ludlowe coach Kevin O'Hara said. "I'm very proud of my boys, (Prep) is a very strong team."
The Falcons were able to contain Prep's offense until late in the second half when Molina -- a Fairfield resident on the Warde side of town -- potted the second goal of his freshman year with just 13:51 to play in regulation.
"It's always great to beat the rival, even if I'm not at Warde," Molina said.
Johnson ran up right wing, sending a cross squarely on Molina's foot. The forward outmuscled a Ludlowe defender and redirected Johnson's cross over Arrigo's shoulder, putting the Jesuits ahead 1-0.
"They didn't get behind us until that goal," O'Hara said. "It was a great ball and a great finish, you have to tip your hat."
"That was all I could do was backside curve it into the back of the net," Molina said.
"Steiner has been a starter here for three years and his leadership is extraordinary," Lyddy said. "In big games he leads by example."
Ludlowe was forced to play much of the game without dynamic senior forward Arda Kocturk, who left early in the first half with an apparent ankle injury.
"We had our injuries to deal with," O'Hara said. "To me, with kids stepping up who I didn't expect to step up, I can't complain.
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE..............................0 0-- 0
FAIRFIELD PREP.....................................0 1-- 1
Records: Fairfield Ludlowe 6-9-2, Fairfield Prep 17-2-1; Goals: FP-- Chris Molina; Assists: Djimon Johnson; Goalies: FL--Ryan Arrigo (6 saves); FP--Will Steiner (2); Shots: FL--2; FP--7.