Sep 23, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A long time had passed since the Bishop Ludden football team had played at home — long enough, in fact, for the Gaelic Knights to produce a state Class C championship and then start the next chapter in 2008 with a pair of road wins.
So when the Gaelic Knights (who sit atop the initial state Class C rankings) finally came back to Geddes last Friday night to face Port Byron, it needed to show the home fans and the alumni that it could keep the good times going.
Ludden did so, beating the Panthers 36-12 to earn its 15th consecutive victory and take charge of the Class C West division race.
By doing so, the Gaelic Knights proved a small, yet important point. With Port Byron 0-2, Ludden had to be tempted to project ahead to this Friday’s big trip to Thousand Islands. But it never succumbed to that temptation.
Instead, Ludden running back Omar Osbourne tore up the Panthers’ defense, earning 259 yards on the ground to set a new career mark.
This included a 21-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which built the Gaelic Knights’ lead to 13-0. Earlier, quarterback John Rooney had taken advantage of a Port Byron blitz and took off on a 25-yard TD run to start the scoring.
And it continued in the second period. One drive led to Chris Davis kicking a 27-yard field goal, while another march culminated with Rooney connecting with E.J. Beauford on a 12-yard TD strike.
It was 22-0 going into halftime, and Ludden kept it up after the break. Osbourne had the night’s biggest play when, taking a handoff from his own 19-yard line, he found a hole and never got caught, an 81-yard touchdown run (his ninth score of the season) that made it 29-0.
Rooney had one more big throw, going 27 yards to Nick Familo for his second TD pass late in the third period. As for Ludden’s defense, it again proved strong, as Davis twice killed Port Byron drives with interceptions and didn’t allow a point until the game was well out of reach in the fourth quarter.
For its only non-league game of the regular season, Ludden picked the toughest trip possible — a long bus ride to the north country, all the way to Clayton, to meet a Thousand Islands team no. 17 in the state Class C rankings and bent on making a big statement.
A year ago, the Vikings had an undefeated regular season, won the Class C North regular-season title and reached the sectional semifinals before falling to Mount Markham.
Burned with the memory of that defeat, TI has pulverized its first three opponents (Lowville, APW and South Lewis) by a combined score of 170-12. The Vikings have a strong running game and proven quarterback in Ryan Skinner that must be contained if Ludden is to stay unbeaten in this possible playoff preview.