FAIRFIELD -- Fairfield Ludlowe head coach Vince Camera challenged his team for its home opener Friday night at Taft Field against Bridgeport Central. And the Falcons responded. He wanted two solid halves of football instead of the one strong half along with one subpar one they turned in during each of their first two games of the season.
The Falcons' six-point lead at halftime grew with an even more decisive effort in the second half as Ludlowe beat the Hilltoppers 46-20 to improve to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the FCIAC. Central dropped to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Senior Matt White, an All-FCIAC quarterback last year, added fuel to his run to repeat postseason honors in 2013 by collecting three touchdown runs. He escaped for scoring runs of 1 yard in the second quarter, 12 yards in the third quarter and 6 in the fourth quarter. Warren Davis (63 yards rushing on 17 carries) had touchdown runs of 5 and 8 yards.
"Their quarterback did a real good job in the second half," said Central coach Brian Gordon. "It was even obvious to me from the sidelines. He ran the offense real well in the second half."
A quarterback, such as White, who gained 121 yards on 16 runs, tends to get noticed not just by the opposing coach.
The Ludlowe defense, which had surrendered 62 points in the first two games, was minus-1 for the day, allowing three Hilltoppers' touchdowns but scoring twice itself.
Ludlowe's Cole Fetcho intercepted a Mykel Morris pass and went 42 yards down the Falcons' right sideline for a touchdown with less than three minutes to play in the first quarter to open the scoring. The game ended when Ben Cheney got to an errant snap to Morris in shutgun position from the Falcons' 1 yard line, returning the fumble 99 yards into the end zone.
"I asked them to play two good halves, and we did," Camera said. "We finally put our game together.
"I wanted to win time of possession, and I wanted to win the battle of the turnovers, and I wanted to win the line of scrimmage. I believe we won all three of them." Ludlowe recovered two fumbles for takeaways, Central once for a Falcons' turnover.
Ludlowe's 20-14 lead entering the third quarter didn't expand immediately. The game plan to control time of possession throughout featured even fewer passes in the second half. Camera was content to give more of a work load to White (10 second-half rushes) without ignoring Davis and Jimmy Gasper (nine total rushes for 49 yards). White scored on a 12 yarder late in the third quarter to give the Falcons a 26-14 lead. Davis got his 8-yard touchdown run in the third minute of the fourth quarter to send the Hilltoppers into a 34-14 defict after Patrick O'Leary's two-point conversion catch.
Morris, a junior, connected on a pair of scoring passes to Dominique Hancock, and used his speed with some deft moves on a 60-yard touchdown run. Hancock's 46-yard touchdown catch cut Ludlowe's lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter on a bomb to the right sidelines. His 15-yard scoring reception, before Morris's running conversion, made the score 20-14 at halftime. The touchdown run by Morris -- converted from running back this season -- came with the Falcons' leading 34-14 and with 3:14 elapsed in the fourth quarter.
"We knew we had to contain their No. 7 (Morris)," said Camera, who was concerned about his speed in forming Ludlowe's defensive scheme. "He had some big plays, but we didn't do such a bad job on him.
"Offensively, we stuck to our game plan. We had to run the ball."
Fairfield Ludlowe 46, Bridgeport Central 20
BRIDGEPORT CENTRAL 0 14 0 6--20
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 7 13 6 20--46
FL--Cole Fetcho 42 interception (Charles Kottler kick)
FL--Warren Davis 5 run (Kottler kick)
BC--Dominique Hancock 46 pass Mykel Morris (pass fails)
FL--Matt White 1 run (kick blocked)
BC--Hancock 15 pass Morris (Morris run)
FL--White 12 run (run failed)
FL--Davis 8 run (Patrick O'Leary pass White)
BC--Morris 60 run (run fails)
FL--White 6 run (kick blocked)
FL--Ben Cheney 99 fumble (no conversion)
Records: Bridgeport Central 0-3, 0-2 FCIAC; Fairfield Ludlowe 2-1, 1-1 FCIAC