Ludden sinks Dobbs Ferry, earns state Class C crown

For anyone wearing Bishop Ludden's familiar green on Sunday in the Carrier Dome, it was a day few thought would ever come to pass.

The football Gaelic Knights, long a footnote at a school better known for athletic success in other realms (especially basketball), are now the state Class C champions.

A post-season run full of excitement climaxed with one more surprise, as Ludden dethroned defending champion Dobbs Ferry 21-16, ending the Eagles' 24-game win streak with just the right combination of big plays, stellar defense and poise that marked the Gaelic Knights' entire 2007 ride to glory.

"It's a great feeling," said quarterback Connor Sweeney. "You can't even put it into words. We've got a lot of senior leadership here, and it's a great way to go out."

Really, all it took was 11 seconds -- and a single play -- for Ludden (12-1) to announce its intentions to a Dobbs Ferry squad that had shut out five previous foes in 2007 and were fully expected to beat up the Gaelic Knights, too.

Taking the opening kickoff at its own 20-yard line, Ludden and its head coach, John Cosgrove, figured the Eagles were expecting a heavy dose of running back Daquan Grobsmith at the start.

So on the game's opening play from scrimmage, Sweeney faked a handoff, then threw deep down the left side. Wendall Williams beat his defender and was open by five yards, catching the ball in mid-stride and never stopping until he was in the end zone, 80 yards later. Ludden had a lead it would never relinquish.

"We wanted to establish momentum right away," said Cosgrove. "Teams key on Daquan, and we showed that we're more than one-dimensional."

Sweeney agreed. "We wanted to come out and attack and show that we weren't afraid of them," he said.

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