SYRACUSE As they do each fall, the Bishop Ludden football team has to play the numbers game in 2014 and hope that the guys that take the field for next Friday night’s season opener against Utica-Notre Dame are still going in mid-October, if not beyond.
Gaelic Knights head coach Mike Rogers said that there’s approximately 300 students, boys and girls, enrolled at the school in grades seven through 12. Ludden’s varsity roster has just 25 players, with only five seniors and four juniors on hand, and no JV squad to help provide manpower in case the need arose.
Sometimes, that’s plenty to do the job – like in 2007, when the Gaelic Knights won the state Class C championship. But in 2013, Ludden could only manage a 3-5 mark, going 3-3 within the tough Class C West division, but unable to make the Section III playoffs.
Where it ends this fall for Ludden will largely hinge on keeping players healthy and getting the maximum production possible from a promising group of skill players.
“”We’ve got some pretty good speed on this team,” said Rogers. “We feel like we’ve got the ability to put people in spots (to make big plays).”
It starts, at running back, with Donovan Card, who got famous for hurdling over a Skaneateles defender during a touchdown run last fall. Just a sophomore, Card is joined in a three-man rotation by fellow 10th-grader Kevin Burkhart and senior Nick Maynard.
Ludden also has options at wide receiver, where senior Cam Beauford could stand out, but if defenses worry too much about him, sophomore KeAndre Sanders and freshman Joe Connor could get open looks.
Running the show is quarterback Billy Maynard. At just 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, Maynard will not look imposing, but Rogers said he is a quality field general with a decent arm and a chance to cut loose if no one gets open.