For three consecutive games, the Bishop Ludden had done such a quick job of putting away an overmatched opponent that it didn't even have to use its starters in the second half.
That changed, to some degree, when the Gaelic Knights visited Hannibal last Saturday afternoon, and the result was lots of points on the board in a 54-18 romp over the Warriors that moved the team's record to 5-0.
Ludden, no. 5 in the latest state Class C rankings, has outscored its five foes by a combined 241-61 margin, but still had a shaky start against a Hannibal squad nursing a 2-2 record.
Accustomed to big offensive outbursts, the Gaelic Knights scored just once in the first quarter, John Rooney throwing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Mark DeAngelis.
It even got tied, 6-6, early in the second quarter when Hannibal running back Josh Lewis capped off a drive with a two-yard TD plunge. Only a missed conversion kept the game even.
That rare defensive lapse served as an alarm for the rest of the Ludden squad, who reverted to traditional form -- that is, score so much that an opponent is overwhelmed.
It began with Rooney breaking out of the pocket and sprinting 36 yards to the end zone. It continued through the air, as Rooney hit DeAngelis again, this time on a 37-yard TD strike, and culminated with Devin White going two yards for another score.
Though up 27-6 at halftime, Ludden would not rest, as running back Omar Osbourne electrified his teammates by going 64 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. For the game, Osbourne had 188 yards on 15 carries, some of his heaviest duty of the season.
Rooney, who was six-for-seven through the air for 164 yards, took off on another TD run of 11 yards late in the period, and the defense joined the fun in the fourth quarter as E.J. Beauford returned a fumble 30 yards for a score. Malik Merrit added a three-yard TD run.
After playing LaFayette/Fabius-Pompey (2-3) in Friday's regular-season finale in Geddes, the Gaelic Knights will find out Sunday who it will face in the opening round of the expanded Section III Class C playoffs.