When the Bishop Ludden football team made Onondaga its choice of an opening-night opponent, it knew it would get a high dose of Latavius Murray and an ideal test before it returned to the Class C ranks.
What transpired last Friday night, though, was beyond anyone's expectations in terms of excitement.
The Gaelic Knights and Tigers exchanged big punches all night long. But OCS made the crucial defensive plays that caused Ludden to blow a 14-point second-half lead and, ultimately, accept a painful 50-43 defeat.
This frantic pace did not develop until the second half. Up to that point, Ludden and OCS (who went to the state Class D semifinals a season ago) played at least a small bit of defense to keep things modest.
Daquan Grobsmith got the opening statement, as Ludden's senior running back ran 13 yards for a touchdown. Though Murray answered with a 21-yard scoring run, a missed extra point allowed the Gaelic Knights to take a 7-6 lead to the second quarter.
Wendall Williams' big night launched itself in the second quarter, as he broke free from the Tiger defenders and caught Connor Sweeney's 25-yard pass for his first TD.
But when Murray broke loose on a 42-yard scoring run and added his own two-point conversion, the two sides went to halftime tied, 14-14, having no idea that things were about to get even crazier.
To start the third quarter, Sweeney threw his second TD pass to Williams, covering 28 yards. OCS quarterback Teddy Zabel answered with a 42-yard scoring strike to Mike Cota which, with the two-point conversion, gave the Tigers a 22-21 lead. Cota would be heard from again.
For the moment, though, Ludden appeared to seize command. Grobsmith's second TD put his side back in front, and when Williams ran a sweep 25 yards into the end zone, the Gaelic Knights had a 36-22 advantage.