Just when it was needed, the Bishop Ludden football team came up with the single big play it needed to keep both its win streak, and its chance to repeat at state Class C champions, alive.
The Gaelic Knights' 28-14 victory over Adirondack in last Friday's opening round of the Class C playoffs in Geddes was the team's 20th consecutive vicotry. Yet it also was a game where the score did not reflect the danger Ludden faced right to the end.
Due to an inability to hang on to the ball, Ludden only led, 14-7, when Adirondack took the ball on its own 30-yard line with 2:04 left.
Attempting to avenge close playoff defeats to the Gaelic Knights each of the last two seasons, the Wildcats steadily moved the ball down the field, all the way to Ludden's two-yard line, as the clock ticked down.
A couple of more yards, and Adirondack would have the chance to tie the game, or maybe even go for two points and the win. It would get neither.
Scott Dunlap took a handoff and went into the line. As he tried to break loose from the Ludden defenders, the ball came out, a fumble came out and bounced away from Dunlap's reach.
The ball came right to Gaelic Knights defensive back Rick Montgomery at the three-yard line. With nothing but green grass in front of him, Montgomery took off, never stopping until he was in the other end zone 97 yards away for a game-clinching touchdown with 29 seconds left.
While Ludden carried its own win streak into the game, Adirondack was hot, too, having won five in a row to overcome an 0-2 start, never scoring less than 25 points in any of those victories.
On its way to a perfect regular season, Ludden had rarely trailed all season, but did so again when the Wildcats seized a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on Matt O'Rourke's 11-yard touchdown run.