Decisions, decisions.

For Ludlowe football coach Vin Camera, it was a challenging one. His senior quarterback, his leader, his rock, Matt White, had graduated. And that left a huge hole in the Falcons offense.

Yes, Camera's three top receivers and his best tight end were back, but if there wasn't anyone to get them the football, that talent wouldn't be able to do anything.

So, what to do? Do you take a veteran from another position and mold him into a leader or do you groom a young, inexperienced kid and hope that he can withstand the pressure.

Camera decided on the former.

And after one week, the decision seems to have been a good one. Bryan Pacewicz passed for 118 yards and he ran for three touchdowns as Ludlowe rolled past Lyman Hall 43-0 in its season opener last Friday night at Taft Field.

"A tremendous performance," Camera said of Pacewicz's quarterback debut against the Trojans. "And the best part about his performance was, last year we were very spoiled with a tremendous quarterback, a born leader, a tough guy to replace. And our backup last year was another senior, so [Pacewicz] didn't get a single snap as a quarterback last year."

Pacewicz last year played cornerback, safety and wide receiver. And despite never playing the position until preseason practice, Pacewicz looked like a leader, completing 11 of 14 passes for 118 yards and rushing 11 times for 84 yards -- and those three touchdowns.

Pacewicz was modest about his accomplishments. "It's a team win," he said. "I don't look at individual performances."

And while Pacewicz might not look at his individual effort, his coach sure did.

"Coming into the season, we found ourselves really either going on the young end with a couple of sophomores or grooming a senior," Camera said. "And he (Pacewicz) lived up to the promise of what we were asking him to do."

WARDE'S AIR SHOW

Warde junior quarterback Brandon Bisack and junior receiver Ryan Brown are a close-knit pair.

Living just a couple of houses away from each other on the same street in Fairfield, the two spent the summer running routes and throwing passes -- workouts designed to create a solid comfort level heading into the season. And in last week's season-opening 24-21 win over Foran, the Bisack found Brown six times for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

"Offensively, our chemistry is getting a lot better right now," Bisack said after the game. "I saw a couple of things with me and my No. 1 receiver, Ryan Brown, we knew we could take advantage of."

Bisack and Brown hooked up on an 11-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and a 20-yard TD strike in the third quarter. For the game, Bisack completed 13 of 25 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

PREP`S SMITH SHINES

Fairfield Prep wasted no time in letting everyone in the Southern Connecticut Conference -- and everyone else in Class LL -- that they are determined to get back into the CIAC playoffs after a season opening 59-40 win over Stamford.

Quarterback Colton Smith threw two touchdown passes and ran for three more as the Jesuits rolled up 473 yards of total offense.

"He brings us not only great leadership and great experience but also a great arm and great feet," Prep coach Tom Shea said. "He's one of those guys who has the ability to turn nothing into something. He's got this explosive ability to a lot of times turn nothing into a big play."

Smith created several big plays, running for touchdowns of 65, one and 38 yards and passing for TD's of 63 and 19 yards as he totaled 332 yards of total offense. And according to Shea, that 38-yard scoring run, --where he scrambled for what seemed like forever before finding a gap and getting through the Stamford defense -- was something special to see.

"What a pick-me-up that is, when everyone really doesn't do their job the way they're supposed to. He's a guy who can take a bad situation and turn it into a big play."

With solid skill players on both sides of the football, Prep seemed determined to get back to the Class LL playoffs -- and this time, win it all.

"I know the players certainly have their sights set on going back to the playoffs (the Jesuits lost to Southington in the Class LL finals 52-34 last year) and trying to finish their uncompleted work," Shea said. "As coaches, we need them to focus on one game at a time because none of those (championship) things happen unless to take care of business."

N.D. SEES POSITIVES

When you're coming off a one-win season and the program has just three wins in the last three years, you take pride in every small positive step. Like Notre Dame-Fairfield coach Ted Boynton did despite his Lancers' 49-7 season opening loss to New Fairfield Saturday.

Trailing 42-7 at halftime, the Lancers could have easily gotten discouraged and not played with the same intensity that Boynton hoped they would have. Instead, Notre Dame battled until the final horn, allowing the Rebels just one second half touchdown.

"We've got a lot of new players that are playing together, and we just have to gel. If we correct the mistakes, we're going to have more success. There's no doubt in my mind," said Boynton. "We've got a very talented group of kids who work hard every day and we're just going to go back to the drawing board and work on the things we need to correct and we're going to come back next week, bigger, stronger and ready to go."

And a lot of them are underclassmen. Junior tailback Hakim Fleming -- who's 6-foot, 245 pounds -- rushed six times for 49 yards, caught a pass for 21 yards and was devastating at middle linebacker against the Rebels. Junior receiver Tyler McMillian caught a 20-yard pass and turned it into an 85-yard touchdown as he outraced the New Fairfield defense to the end zone. And sophomore receiver Tony Addoriso, junior running back William Kelly provided key plays with the Lancers offense.

In fact, according to the roster, Notre Dame has just 10 seniors.

"We have about 40 kids on the squad. Things are looking up here at Notre Dame. It's a work in progress," Boynton said. "These kids here have a great will and their will is never going to be broken. They're going to come out and they're going to keep fighting. We talk about words like brotherhood and we talk about family. This is close-knit group."

celsberry@ctpost.com