STAMFORD -- Matt McCloskey could have made the conservative and, most would agree, conventional move.
Instead, the Fairfield Ludlowe football coach decided to show faith in his players.
With the Falcons facing a 4th-and-2 from their own 45-yard line with 1:06 remaining, nursing a one-point lead over Stamford, and his defense seemingly in control, McCloskey opted to put the ball in quarterback Matt White's hands.
With a big push up front, White was able to plow past the first-down marker, allowing the Falcons to run out the clock for a 7-6 win Friday night at Boyle Stadium, their second in four contests after suffering through a 14-game losing streak.
"I put it on the offensive line," McCloskey said. "They said they wanted to go for it and I gave it to them."
McCloskey told Ludlowe athletic director Dave Schulz before the start of the season that he would be stepping at the end of the year, news that became public earlier in the day.
"I want to become an administrator and have had a good run for five years," McCloskey said. "This feels great. I went into this game looking at it as a four-game season. Here's No. 1. There's three more wins to come."
McCloskey can thank his quarterback for the victory. With both offenses struggling, the Black Knights took a 6-0 lead on Ryan Lapotts' 2-yard run with 30 seconds left in the third quarter. The conversion sailed wide.
Ludlowe (2-5), which fumbled the ball away on Stamford's 2-yard line late in the opening quarter and had just two subsequent first downs since, got the spark it needed when White scrambled for a 48-yard gain on 3rd-and-13 from his own 36. He scored on a 1-yard run three plays later, and Victor D'Ascenzo's conversion proved the winning point.
"It was a designed pass and I saw a lot of green and my instincts took over," White said. "You see green and you go for it."
The Falcons had a rousing celebration at the end of the game.
"It's a great feeling," White said. "We've waited too long for this feeling. It has come too seldom."
At the other end of the field, the mood was somber as Stamford saw its season reach a low. At one point the Black Knights were 2-0 after a big win over Norwalk.
That was their last one. Five straight losses have followed, and just six points in the last six days.
Last weekend the Black Knights were under the spotlight following a 51-0 loss to Norwich Free Academy that brought the CIAC's controversial score management rule into play. Hocter was outspoken in his belief that NFA had attempted to run up the score.
Hocter had little to say Friday night.
"Without a doubt, this is the worst I've ever felt in my 11 years here," Hocter said. "I'm just in complete disbelief. I can't believe on offense we were so bad."
The Black Knights were missing three starters on the offensive line, but still had three drives stall deep in Ludlowe territory. They drove from their own 31 to the Falcons' 7 on the opening possession of the second half before Lapotts was stopped for no gain and a pass by Tyler Kane went incomplete.
Stamford soon got the ball back on the Ludlowe 30, setting up Lapotts' score.
"We are struggling," Hocter said. "The guys we had in there didn't get it done. We can't throw the ball. Anything that can go wrong has gone wrong. This game is an example. We're just not very good. At this point in time we've got to figure out a way to get a win. It's going to be hard to do."
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FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 7, STAMFORD 6
LUDLOWE 0 0 0 7--7
STAMFORD 0 0 6 0--6
S--Ryan Lapotts, 2 run (kick failed)
FL--Matt White, 1 run (Victor D'Ascenzo kick)
Records: Fairfield Ludlowe 2-5; Stamford 2-5.