Fairfield Ludlowe football dominated by Staples
For one quarter, the Fairfield Ludlowe football team was even with the third-ranked team in the state.
Ludlowe battled Staples to a scoreless draw in the first quarter on Friday at home and was also in the game at the half before succumbing to the Wreckers, 38-0. Staples raised its record to 7-0. The Falcons dropped to 3-4.
"We had some good stuff happen in the first half," said Falcons coach Matt McCloskey. "The interception wasn't good for us and in the second half, they ran the ball down our throats."
Things didn't begin well for Staples and its backup quarterback, Keith Gelman. Gelman fumbled on the Wreckers' first possession after being hit by senior Tom Lipp and Lipp's teammate, senior Anthony Wadelton recovered the fumble on the Staples 20-yard line.
However, the Wrecker defense made sure this gaffe didn't cost them. Staples smothered Ludlowe's offense all night, limiting the Falcons to 121 net yards, 51 on the ground on 31 carries.
On a fourth-and-eight from the 18, Staples senior Matt Kelly prevented the Falcons from capitalizing on their first drive of the game when he tackled senior Devin Brault at the 11 after a seven-yard reception from Ferrara.
Staples didn't do much on offense in the first half and didn't score until its third drive of the game, which it began on its 43. Ludlowe's defense played a role with senior Tom Nagy applying pressure on Gelman all night and teammates Pat Tommins and Nate Ryan were involved in many tackles. Lipp also had a sack.
After Wrecker junior Ryan Burke gained 32 yards on two plays, Kelly (six carries for 105 yards, two catches for 34 yards) capped the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run with 11:21 remaining in the half. Senior Santiago Cuartas was 5-5 on extra points and his kick made it 7-0.
Staples scored its second and final touchdown of the first half on defense with senior captain Brendan Rankowitz intercepted Ferrara's pass and returned it 30 yards for the touchdown with 8:30 to go to make it 14-0.
The Wreckers also received a break when sophomore John Colavito apparently sacked Gelman and forced a fumble that Lipp recovered at his 41, but the referee ruled it an incomplete pass.
"The referees are going to call what they are going to call," said McCloskey.
Instead of starting their subsequent drive their 41, the Falcons began it on their four after a Staples punt. A 29-yard run by senior Kyle Finnegan ignited Ludlowe and Ferrara's 15-yard pass to Ryan gave the Falcons a first down on the Wrecker 29.
Staples senior captain Santora ended this threat by intercepting Ferrara and returning it six yards the Wrecker 35 with 1:47 left. Staples led 14-0 at the break.
In the second half, the Wreckers exploded on offense, particularly Burke He scored on two, one-play drives in the third quarter with a 45-yard and 64-yard touchdown runs. In the fourth quarter, he capped a four-play, 64-yard drive, with a 23-yard touchdown run.
"We had miscues on their option play and they capitalized," said McCloskey.