NORWALK — Niar Brown was feeling a little bit emotional in the wake of Norwalk High’s 41-21 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe on Friday night.

As a three-year starter for the Bears’ much-maligned defense, Brown and the Bears’ first-unit defense stepped up in a big way at Testa Field during Week 3 of the high school footballs season, holding the Falcons to just one touchdown and shutting them out for nearly 40 minutes.

“Honestly, I think we did a tremendous job on defense as a whole,” Brown said. “We were making plays all over the place and pressuring their quarterback all game.”

It took just one play for the defense to shine as freshman Khalil Eason intercepted a Ludlowe pass, which had been tipped by Bears teammate Akber Khan, and raced 40 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

“I knew we had to start off fast and strong,” Eason said. “I saw the route coming, Akber deflected and I knew I could get to it. I just grabbed it and saw all green from there.”

Ludlowe did respond with its best drive of the game — a 12-play, 65-yard drive that ended when quarterback Colin Wilson scored from two yards out to tie the game at 7-7.

Norwalk’s first defense wouldn’t allow another point in the game, though, while the Bears’ multi-faceted offense showcased its depth.

Senior wide receiver AJ Hall scored on a 2-yard yet sweep, sophomore tailback Jakari Walker scored a pair of 5-yard touchdown runs, quarterback Kyle Gordon hit Jalen Elliott for a 19-yard scoring pass and Marlon Brown caught a 7-yard shovel pass from Gordon for another score.

Marlon Brown’s TD came on the play after he notched an interception and returned it 37 yards to set up a first-and-goal.

“We know if our defense keeps us in the game, our offense is good enough to put up 40-something points,” Norwalk coach Sean Ireland said.

The win moved Norwalk to 2-1 on the season while Ludlowe slipped to 0-3.

CALL HIM OB-AJ

The Norwalk faithful — aka The Bear Back — has taken to calling AJ Hall “OB-AJ” as a nod to the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham.

Hall got off to a hot start against Ludlowe, catching five passes for 47 yards during Norwalk’s first 11 plays, in addition to running for the 2-yard touchdown.

“Today, (Ludlowe) tried to take away Jalen and we went to AJ early. When they took away AJ, we went back to Jalen. And our running game has been always been good,” Ireland said.

DEFENSIVE GEMS

In addition to Eason notching his second interception in only his second varsity start, Niar Brown notched his first career interception by snatching a double-tipped ball out of the air in the third quarter.

All three of Norwalk’s INTs turned into scores.

Additionally, the Bears sacked Wilson five times.

M*A*S*H* UNIT

With eight starters sidelined due to injury, Fairfield Ludlowe coach Mitchell Ross estimated a third of his junior and senior classes weren’t in uniform.

Those who did strap on their pads, though, impressed their coach.

“The kids played great and showed a lot of heart, considering how many kids we had out,” Ross said. “Personally, I’m proud of my kids. They never gave up. They played hard. We moved the ball at times.”

Trailing 41-7 late, Ludlowe scored with 2:30 to play when Wilson hit Conor Ginley on a 46-yard scoring pass.

After Norwalk’s second unit fumbled on their first play from scrimmage, Wilson hit Jake Northrop on a 5-yard scoring pass to cut the lead in half.

jnash@hearstmediact.com

NORWALK 41, LUDLOWE 21

LUDLOWE 7 0 0 14—21

NORWALK 7 21 13 0—41

N—Khalil Eason 40 interception return (Ben Bonebrake kick)

L—Colin Wilson 2 run (Shrey Kukreja kick)

N—AJ Hall 2 run (kick failed)

N—Jakari Walker 5 run (Walker rush)

N—Jalen Elliott 19 pass from Kyle Gordon (Bonebrake kick)

N—Marlon Brown 7 pass from Gordon (Bonebrake kick)

N—Walker 5 run (kick blocked)

L—Conor Ginley 46 pass from Wilson (Kukreja kick)

L—Jake Northrop 5 pass from Wilson (Kukreja kick)

Records: Norwalk 2-1, Ludlowe