Ludden tops Cato, still in playoff hunt

When it absolutely needed a win, the Bishop Ludden football team went to the road - and came through.

In last Friday night's crucial showdown, the Gaelic Knights gave itself a better chance to reach the Section III Class C playoffs, beating the Cato-Meridian Blue Devils 42-20.

Ludden's hard-fought 36-27 loss to Hannibal on Sept. 29 left the team in the middle of the Class C West league pack. Knowing that three teams (at the most) would qualify for the Section III Class C playoffs, the Gaelic Knights knew a defeat at Cato would seal the team's fate.

To that end, the Gaelic Knights flattened the Blue Devils in the first half, using big plays on both sides of the ball to build a 36-6 halftime lead.

Connor Sweeney got it going, throwing it deep to George Eunice on a touchdown pass that covered 45 yards to put Ludden on the board.

Soon enough, it was 15-0, as Daquan Grobsmith ran 15 yards for his first TD of the night, but that was just the warm-up for the Gaelic Knights' 21-point outburst in the second quarter.

James Brathwaite struck a big blow for Ludden's defense when he picked up a Cato fumble and returned it 37 yards for six points, making it 22-0.

With the Blue Devils' defense worried about Grobsmith, Craig Martin broke through the line and took off, 63 yards for the longest TD of his varsity career. Sweeney then hit Williams from 29 yards out for his second scoring pass of the night.

Grobsmith acquired most of his 123 rushing yards on a single play in the third quarter. Taking a handoff on his own 11-yard line, Grobsmith found a seam, then used his sprinter's speed to go 89 yards to the other end zone.

Ludden, at 4-2, is done with league play. It currently sits in third place in Class C West behind Hannibal and Tully. The Warriors and Black Knights meet each other Saturday to determine the league title, a day after Ludden hosts Pulaski (a Class C North team with an 0-6 mark) at 7 p.m.

Whether the Gaelic Knights make the playoffs depends on the outcome of both the Tully-Hannibal game and Canastota's home tilt with Cato, also on Friday. Ludden, based on its season-opening 36-33 win over Canastota on Sept. 1, would win any direct tiebreaker with the Raiders.

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