Should the Bishop Ludden football team miss the Section III Class C playoffs, it will look back on Friday night's game against Tully as the moment where the chance slipped away.
In a clash of evenly matched 4-1 sides, the Gaelic Knights paid for a third-quarter defensive lapse, which led to a 41-34 loss to the Black Knights.
As this went on, Jordan-Elbridge, who hosts Ludden in next Friday's regular-season finale, went to Skaneateles and witnessed a record-breaking effort from Lakers quarterback Troy Green in a 70-28 defeat to fall to 3-3 on the season.
Ludden, an annual contender, was getting a first-hand glimpse at how Tully had improved under first-year head coach Brad Keysor, though it didn't happen right away.
In fact, the Gaelic Knights had the only points of the first quarter, as quarterback Matt Rogers found Antoine Montgomery on a 30-yard scoring pass. Montgomery hit the extra point, and Ludden led 7-0.
Tully's run game began to take hold in the second quarter, twice moving to the Gaelic Knights' end zone. Marcus Warner finished off one drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge, and John Warner scored from 16 yards out.
In between, though, Rogers and Montgomery connected again, on a 13-yard TD pass, and a missed Tully conversion meant that the Gaelic Knights took a slim 14-13 lead to the break.
But the entire game seemed to turn early in the third quarter. From his own 48-yard line, John Warner took a handoff and broke through Ludden's defenses, 52 yards to the end zone, and Marcus Warner added the two-point conversion.
Now Tully led 21-14, and Warner was responsible for two more TD's in this 20-point period, scoring on a one-yard plunge and throwing five yards to Cyrus Nash for another.
Just before the period ended, Rogers threw his third scoring pass of the night, 18 yards to Corey Wilkinson. When Rogers hit Zach Harding on a 26-yard TD completion early in the fourth quarter, Ludden pulled within 33-27, with plenty of time to catch up.