Without Daquan Grobsmith around, it's safe to assume that Bishop Ludden's football team might not be playing for a Section III Class C title this weekend.
As it was, Grobsmith's remarkable performance last Friday night at Corcoran High School helped the Gaelic Knights get past Adirondack, 35-28, and set up this Saturday's final against Mount Markham, to be played at 11 a.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
Romping through the rain, Grobsmith adapted perfectly to Corcoran's Field Turf. By game's end, he had a career-best 369 rushing yards and had accounted for all five of Ludden's touchdowns.
What's more, the Gaelic Knights needed every bit of Grobsmith's magic to match what Adirondack was doing. The game was expected to be a battle of high-octane offenses, and both sides did not disappoint, even though the rain kept Ludden from throwing as much as it wanted.
Behind 7-0 after Cody Hitt's three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Ludden provided a quick answer. Grobsmith took a handoff, found a hole and didn't stop until he had gone 71 yards to the end zone.
In the pivotal second quarter, the Gaelic Knights went ahead for good with more of Grobsmith. Twice more, the senior running back burned the Wildcats' defense, going 72 yards for one TD and 43 yards for another score.
This put Ludden in front, 21-7, and the rest of the night was a long, exciting chase where Adirondack would threaten -- and Grobsmith would answer.
Scott Dunlap's 18-yard TD run slashed the Gaelic Knights' lead to 21-14 in the third quarter, but Grobsmith reeled off yet another long, deflating touchdown in response, this time going 76 yards for the score.
The pattern repeated itself in the fourth quarter, but with a twist. This time, Dunlap scored from 19 yards out to make it 28-21, but Adirondack made the mistake of kicking it deep to the one person it could not afford to kick it to.