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Pickens' Perspective: Ludlowe and Prep football headed in opposite directions

Published 3:20 pm, Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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Sitting in the stands on Friday afternoon at Alumni Field, the chant from the Prep "Bomb Squad" at the Ludlowe vs. Prep boys soccer game, was audible.

"Lud-lowe, Foot-ball" (clap, clap, clap clap clap).

For years Falcon faithful have heard that derisive cheer at Ludlowe's non-football road games. Like it or not, football is a measuring stick for many students, and the Falcons, in recent years, have not measured up.

Yet, there was great irony that it was Prep's student section providing the derision during the Jesuits' 1-0 win over Ludlowe on Friday afternoon.

Because it appears Prep and Ludlowe are headed in opposite directions.

The teams scrimmaged on Sept. 1, with the Jesuits controlling both sides of the ball. Prep rolled through its first six games, starting 5-1, with the only blemish being a respectable defeat at the hands of two-time defending state-champion, Xavier.

Meanwhile, just down the road at Ludlowe, the Falcons were starting 0-4, extending their losing streak to 14-- and 23 of 24. Ludlowe beat Harding, but fell to McMahon, dropping to 1-5. After being outscored 192-84, Falcons head coach Matt McCloskey announced he'd resign after the year.

And that's when Ludlowe took off.

The Falcons, presently, are on their first win streak since 2009, posting an impressive 34-8 win over Danbury on Friday. The Falcons have won three games and will likely be favored to win out.

Ludlowe's run game-- now that lead running back Stephen Scholz is healthy-- has looked good, which has given the Falcons' defense -- their strength all along -- some rest.

"I think we started playing as a team and as a unit," McCloskey said Tuesday. "We're getting a good push up front and we're able to run with our backs."

Plus the Falcons are playing for McCloskey. The embattled, lame-duck head coach likened this squad to that 2009 team -- the one which finished 6-4. And if Ludlowe can win out, it'll have the fifth-year coach's second-best record.

Meanwhile, Prep's gone the complete opposite direction. The Jesuits' defense has given up too many big, their offense looks lost and worse, they've been way too careless with the ball. Prep's turned it over 11 times in its last three games -- six coming in the Jesuits' 21-14 loss to Notre Dame-West Haven on Friday night.

"In our league, the difference between a good record and a bad record is actually very slim," Jesuits head coach Tom Shea said. "It's a couple of turnovers, it's a couple of dumb plays. Earlier in the season, we weren't making those plays and now we're imploding and we're making those kinds of mistakes."

What appeared to be a renaissance year for Prep now could be destined for mediocrity. The Jesuits close with Branford and West Haven-- who likely will be fighting for a state playoff berth-- and 5-5 is not out of the question.

Amazing. If Ludlowe wins out, it'll be 5-5 too.

You can argue that the back-half of Ludlowe's schedule is weak. The Falcons closed with Stamford, Danbury, Norwalk and Warde-- four teams with a combined 7-24 record.

But you play the schedule laid out for you. Good for the Falcons for earning some good fortune after the Darien, Ridgefield, Trumbull, and Greenwich four of their first five games.

The obvious lesson here is don't be cocky with your chants. But it also proves the Falcons have some talent on the football field. If a new coach steps in and cultivates this talent, who knows what'll happen.

That "Lud-lowe, foot-ball" chant may go away.

Or it may end up being a compliment.

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

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