Oct 24, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Omar Osbourne sprinted toward the end zone, which wasn’t surprising. After all, Osbourne had scored 17 previous touchdowns this fall for the unbeaten Bishop Ludden football team.
The difference here was that, for the first time this fall, Osbourne had to come up big – for otherwise, the Gaelic Knights’ quest for a second Section III Class C title in three years might be over.
Instead, Ludden lives, having fought past the Adirondack Wildcats 35-32 in a dramatic Class C North/West semifinal Friday night in Geddes.
Four times in the fourth quarter alone, the lead changed hands, Ludden not inching in front for good until Osbourne made that 55-yard scoring sprint with 4:30 to play.
Thanks mainly to Osbourne’s 239 yards on 15 carries, the Gaelic Knights (8-0) will meet fellow unbeaten General Brown in the C North/West final this Friday at 8 p.m. at Central Square.
This is getting to be a habit for Ludden, who now has eliminated Adirondack three straight years, though this third chapter may have proved the toughest of all.
With wind and rain slicing through Geddes, the sense was that Ludden had to run – and that got confirmed by the way the Wildcats’ defense dealt with Gaelic Knights quarterback John Rooney.
For the first time all season, Rooney did not throw a TD pass. Instead, he and his fellow Ludden backs stuck with the ground game, even when Adirondack got off to a terrific start.
Neither side scored until the second quarter – but the Wildcats broke through when, early in that frame, Andre Adkins ran 32 yards for a TD. Moments later, Adirondack got it back near Ludden’s goal line, and Jesse Sullivan scored from eight yards out.
Badly needing a spark, Ludden got it from Osbourne, who took a handoff on his own 38-yard line and tore through the Wildcats defenders 62 yards for his team’s first points of the night. It wouldn’t be the last time Osbourne would offer a timely score.
Sullivan’s 23-yard TD run made it 18-7, but Ludden returned to the end zone just before halftime, Rooney breaking out of the pocket to go 25 yards for a score, and it was 18-14 at the break.
As Ludden’s defense stepped up in the third quarter to shut out Adirondack (Devin White led with nine tackles), Rooney struck again with his legs, going 21 yards for the go-ahead TD as the Gaelic Knights gained its first lead of the night at 21-18. But the roller coaster was just starting.
Adkins returned early in the fourth quarter, again burning Ludden’s defense as he went 55 yards for his second TD of the night, and Jacob Johnson ran in for two points.
Down 26-21, it was Ludden’s turn for a big play. Expecting another run from Rooney or Osbourne, the Wildcats forgot about E.J. Beauford, who broke loose and earned a 59-yard TD run, the longest run of his career, and Ludden led again 29-26 after Osbourne ran in for two points.
Midway through the final period, Adirondack drove again, leading to fullback Matt Pfendler’s one-yard TD run and a 32-29 edge for the Wildcats.
Ludden got the ball in decent field position, then drove to its 45-yard line before Osbourne again broke loose, getting his most important touchdown of the season – but leaving time for Adirondack to make a third rally in the final period.
Before the Wildcats could do this, though, Matt Rogers stepped in and made the interception that allowed the Gaelic Knights to run out the clock – and advance.
Tough as that was, Ludden might find General Brown a far steeper challenge.
On its way to an 8-0 start, the Lions have dominated everyone, outscoring opponents by a combined 398-32, including Friday’s 53-6 destruction of Tully in the other C North/West semifinal in Dexter.
The combination of a diverse attack and a swarming, physical defense has GB well-positioned for another sectional title to match the three straight Class C crowns it won from 2003 to ’05 – if Ludden doesn’t stop them.
The winner of this game advances to face Cooperstown or Cazenovia in the Nov. 7 Class C final at the Carrier Dome.