Ludden shuts out J-E, secures C West title

Make that 18 wins in a row for the Bishop Ludden football team -- and also make that back-to-back Class C West division regular-season championships.

Moving to 6-0 on the season, the Gaelic Knights used a first-quarter onslaught to pull away early in last Friday's game at Jordan-Elbridge, on its way to a 42-0 victory over the Eagles, its 18th win in a row dating back to the second week of the 2007 season.

All season long, Ludden has held the top spot in the state Class C rankings. That, plus the status of defending state champions, guarantees that any opponent will come in and bring its best possible effort.

The distinct difference, in this case, is that the Gaelic Knights are quite aware of that fact, too. Despite its lofty status, Ludden has not let anyone in the Class C West division get close to them, outscoring five league foes 214-69 with its heady mix of big plays on offense and steady, solid defense.

J-E, like other Ludden opponents, came in with the right intentions and a burning desire to spring an upset. But it also didn't have leading rusher Mitch Merrill in the lineup, a crippling blow, since Merrill had gained 786 yards in five games, including 234 against LaFayette the week before.

Without Merrill, all the Eagles could manage was 124 yards of total offense, far from enough. Alex Fletcher tried 12 passes, completing four of them for 38 yards, while Nick Berwind had 10 carries for 40 yards.

Meanwhile, Ludden pounced -- and by the time the first 12 minutes were done, though, those notions had melted away.

On its opening possession, the Gaelic Knights drove to the Eagles' 37-yard line, then saw junior quarterback John Rooney throw deep and find Mark DeAngelis in the end zone for the game's first touchdown.

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