If you look at the win-loss record and the results for Fairfield Ludlowe's football team this year, you might not think the Falcons are in the right direction.

But Matt McCloskey would disagree.

The Falcons head coach-- in spite of an 0-10 season in which Ludlowe was outscored 391-85-- saw signs of growth, even during the Falcons' second straight defeat to their arch-rival Fairfield Warde, 52-13 on Thanksgiving Day.

"We're excited," McCloskey said. "We've got to get bigger and stronger."

Ludlowe was within 23-6 at halftime and that impressed Ludlowe's head coach.

"I was definitely happy with the first half," McCloskey said. "Offensively, I thought we did a good job."

McCloskey pointed to his team's youth and how the varsity snaps the club got in 2011 will be valuable to his team's continued growth.

"The game experience...you can't replicate that on a practice field," McCloskey said. "The scoreboard doesn't show it, but there's more to it than that."

The fourth-year coach saw growth at his last position-- as offensive coordinator for Jonathan Law High School-- where he watched his club go from winless in 2004 to 9-1 in his final season at Law, 2007.

"We started almost all sophomores and juniors," McCloskey said.

The bright spots also included quarterback Matt White's growth. The sophomore took over during the club's game against Greenwich when opening day starter Tommy Howell was injured against Trumbull.

"He's done a great job at quarterback," McCloskey said of White. "He's leaps and bounds from where he was."

White scored one of the Falcons' two touchdowns in the Thanksgiving game and McCloskey saw the type of read he expects during the quarterback's 41-yard, first-half scamper that cut Warde's advantage to 14-6.

"That run shows that he's turning into a young man," McCloskey said.

The Falcons' Thanksgiving MVP was junior Stephen Scholz, who led the squad in rushing with 39 yards in the game. He also tallied a second-half touchdown and is just a junior. Scholz, Jimmy Gasper and Dan Silvestri will all return in 2012 for Ludlowe.

"They're eager to play," McCloskey said. "Their hearts are in it, their bodies just haven't gotten there yet."

But McCloskey knows that success in a year will depend upon how hard his team works in the offseason.

"We make a lot of young mistakes," McCloskey said. "The years and the weight room will fix those.

"There's a lot of work to be done."

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