Ludden, down 20, rallies for Class C football title

Few times in the history of the Section III football championships has anyone come back from a 20-point deficit to prevail.

Add Bishop Ludden to that small group -- and give them a banner, too.

The Gaelic Knights showed that it was much more than a talented group of players by erasing a 20-0 deficit in last Saturday's Class C title game at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium and beating Mount Markham 41-30.

"Sports reveals character, and they had the character to come back and win this," said head coach John Cosgrove.

This was the second time Ludden has won a sectional championship. But unlike that 2000 team (also coached by Cosgrove) that crushed Herkimer 40-3 for the title, these Gaelic Knights had to fight serious adversity to knock out a great opponent in Mount Markham.

"We've got a tough team," said senior running back Daquan Grobsmith. "It's heart, that's all I have to say."

It also helped Ludden to have Grobsmith and Wendall Williams on its side -- especially Williams, who made so many of the big plays in the Gaelic Knights' rally.

For two weeks, Williams had gone relatively quiet as Grobsmith all but carried Ludden to playoff wins over Herkimer and Adirondack, especially the 35-28 semifinal against the Wildcats where Grobsmith had 369 yards and all five of his team's touchdowns.

Williams said the muddy field conditions against Herkimer, plus the constant rain that fell in the Adirondack game, limited his ability to make big plays.

The weather was far better for the final -- but Ludden's early attack of nerves and sloppy play nearly ended the fun against Mount Markham before it began.

Three times in the first half, Ludden players coughed up the ball, from a bad punt snap to two fumbles. Every time, those mistakes led to Mustang touchdowns, producing that 20-0 deficit Cosgrove said he did not panic, adding that, if his team got at least one score before halftime, things could turn around.

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