WALLINGFORD -- Fairfield Ludlowe, in the debut of head coach Vince Camera, built a comfortable lead Thursday night at Lyman Hall, but had to hold on when the football game suspended by lightning was resumed nearly 43 1/2 hours later on Sunday afternoon to escape with 24-21 victory in the season opener for both teams.
The Trojans scored on the second play Sunday after the game had been halted by the officials with 2:41 left in the third quarter Thursday and the Falcons leading by 24-7. Three plays after Lyman Hall stopped Ludlowe on downs at the Trojans' 8- yard line early in the fourth quarter, Koby Mensah escaped on an 84-yard scoring run for his third touchdown of the game and second of the afternoon. Momentum had clearly slipped from Ludlowe's grasp.
From there, though, the Falcons' defense played well enough and their offense wound off enough time to secure victory in the game that began late on Thursday afternoon at Fitzgerald Field. The non-conference game was part of the SCC-FCIAC Challenge series.
"Hey, we were lucky, but it was a win, and a win is a win," Camera said. "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than to be good. I'd like to be both. They beat us up; they had more size. But they had way too many two-way players, and we wore them down. They got tired."
Luck might have played the tiniest of roles in the building of the Falcons' lead on Thursday night. Matt White, Ludlowe's senior quarterback, sparked the offense by completing passes and rushing, as well as handing off to Warren Davis. And Ludlowe's defense pretty much bottled up the Trojans' attack.
White finished 11 of 16 passing for 132 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 51 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. Davis ran for 148 yards on 25 runs -- 71 yards on nine rushes on Sunday -- gaining 36 on his last carry. That play was a clock-killer for Lyman Hall's rally.
The Falcons took a 12-0 lead on a 28-yard touchdown reception by Patrick O'Leary on the seventh play of the game and an 8-yard touchdown catch by Michael Arman barely inside the end zone on the first drive of the second quarter. Mensah scored on a 1-yard run on the next possession, but Ludlowe closed out the half on a 5-yard touchdown run by Davis before scoring on the second series of the third quarter on White's 1-yard run.
Then the storm moved in, and finally a continuation time of 3 p.m. on Sunday was reached during discussions by school officials and administrators from both sides.
"We played excellent in the final 15 minutes," Lyman Hall coach Rob Marone said. "But we weren't flawless and we had to be to win. We lost our focus a couple of times. They have a couple of kids who really move the offense. They have a very good tailback (Davis) and the quarterback (White) really runs the offense well. They really took it to us up front when they had to, and they had several third- and fourth-down conversions that were big."
Mensah ran for 126 yards on 15 carries.
Fairfield Ludlowe 6 12 6 0 -- 24
Lyman Hall 0 7 7 7 -- 21
FL--Patrick O'Leary 28 pass Matt White (kick failed)
FL--Michael Arman 8 pass White (run failed)
FL--Warren Davis 5 run (pass failed)
FL--White 1 run (pass failed)
LH--Mensah 13 run (Witik kick)
LH--Mensah 84 run (Witik kick)
Records: FL 1-0, LH 0-1.