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Football A matter of inches as Falcons rally for win

September 23, 2018

FAIRFIELD — Ludlowe coach Mitch Ross felt like he had a 50-50 chance.

And he liked those odds.

Aidan Wykoff had just scored from a yard out with 1:38 to play, bringing Ludlowe within one point in what had been a back and forth offensive battle against Norwalk. On the previous Falcons touchdown, the extra point had been blocked and Ross, admittedly a little hesitant, decided to play for the win.

He got it. Barely.

Quarterback Colin Wilson dove for the pylon and just managed — according to the referees — to get the ball inside for the two-point conversion, the capper on a 43-42 Falcons comeback victory that gave them their second win of the season and gave Ross a water bucket dousing.

“I’m very much a numbers guy,” Ross said. “I figured we had a 75 percent chance to make one point and a 50 percent chance to make two points, so I just figured let’s go for it now.”

In a game where there were 85 points scored and nearly 980 yards of total offense, it came down to a matter of inches as Wilson angled toward the pylon on the conversion attempt with several Bears looking to block the way. The line judge on the play was knocked down but signaled the play good, much to the dismay of Norwalk coach Sean Ireland.

“You saw it … he didn’t get it,” Ireland said. “We watched it on the replay, the kid stepped out of bounds at the 2 and he fumbled at the 1, they could have called either one … it’s a shame, an absolute shame.”

Still, Ireland took solace that his squad scored 42 points against a much improved Ludlowe team and led for almost the entire game.

“That’s not the same Fairfield Ludlowe of the past, they’re very aggressive, and very well coached,” Ireland said. “We put up 42 points and that’s something we can build on but obviously, we have to shape up quick on defense.”

You want numbers? Here you go. Norwalk quarterback Kyle Gordon was 10 of 22 for 259 yards and five touchdowns. He also added 79 yards rushing as the Bears amassed 434 total yards. Running back Jakari Walker added 64 yards rushing and Khalil Eason caught four passes for 92 yards and two scores.

For the Falcons — who totaled 553 total yards — quarterback Colin Wilson was 20 of 32 for 248 yards, while also adding 30 yards on the ground. Brian Howell, playing out of the Wildcat, rushed for 140 yards and completed two passes for 74 yards, the game-breaker a 59-yard pass-and-run to Aidan Wykoff that moved the ball down the Bears one-yard line to set up the winning touchdown and conversion.

“The wildcat is really good, it’s a lot of fun,” Howell said. “It really messes up the defense and they really don’t know what to do to stop it.”

After a scoreless first quarter (believe it or not) Norwalk used a seven-yard TD run from Eason, a 28-yard TD pass to Eason, a 37-yard TD pass to Jamal Boyd and a 42-yard TD pass to Walker to offset a 14-yard scoring run from Howell and a 23-yard scoring run from Wilson to take a 28-15 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, mainly behind the Wildcat, Wilson scored on a five-yard run, and Howell scored from four yards out to counter a 42-yard touchdown pass from Gordon to Jaki Elliott to make it 35-28 Norwalk heading into the fourth quarter.

“They lined up in that Wildcat and they punched us right in the mouth, that’s what happened,” Ireland said. “They lined up … we knew they were going to run the ball and they just ran it right down our throats. That nice little play at the end, where they dumped it to the kid, credit to them.”

A four-yard Howell run with 7:30 left, pulled the Falcons even at 35-35 as the extra point was blocked and with 5:36 to go, Gordon found Eason with a 45-yard TD pass to make it 42-35. But Ludlowe needed just four plays to go 69 yards and score to set up the winning two-point play.

“We told them at halftime even though we were down, we were going to win this game,” Ross said. “We’re a better team and they’re believing now.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Ludlowe’s Brian Howell. He rushed for 140 yards on just 14 carries and completed two passes for 74 yards. He scored three touchdowns (14, 4 and 4 yards). Oh, he also caught five passes for 50 yards. Typical day at the office.

“Brian played a magnificent game,” Ross said. “He’s very talented. Today, he was tremendous. Without him, we wouldn’t have had this comeback.”

UNSUNG HERO

The Falcons’ Jake Northrup. He caught four passes for 58 yards and had a sack, two pass breakups and a half-dozen tackles.

celsberry@ctpost.com

LUDLOWE 43, NORWALK 42

NORWALK 0 28 7 7 — 42

LUDLOWE 0 15 14 14 — 43

Records: Ludlowe (2-1), Norwalk (2-1)

N — Khalil Eason, 7-yard run (Vasilios Kiriazidis kick)

N — Eason, 28-yard pass from Kyle Gordon (Kiriazidis kick)

N — Jamal Boyd, 37-yard pass from Gordon (Kiriazidis kick)

L — Brian Howell, 14-yard run (Aidan Wykoff pass from Quinn Pavoz)

N — Jakari Walker, 42-yard pass from Gordon (Kiriazidis kick)

L — Colin Wilson, 23-yard run (Victor Cunha kick)

L — Wilson, 5-yard run (Cunhas kick)

N — Jaki Elliott, 42-yard pass from Gordon (Kiriazidis kick)

L — Howell, 4-yard run (Cunha kick)

L — Howell, 4-yard run (kick blocked)

N — Eason, 45-yard pass from Gordon (Kiriazidis kick)

L — Wykoff, 1-yard run (Wilson run)

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