SYRACUSE Glad to be part of an expanded Section III Class C playoffs after missing out with a 5-2 mark a season ago, the Bishop Ludden football team did not waste its return to the post-season.
The Gaelic Knights outplayed error prone Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, 43-14, Friday night in the Class C-1 quarterfinal game. Ludden improved to o 6-1 and will face Canastota in next weekend's semifinals.
The first and last plays of the game summed up APW’s evening. The Rebels fumbled the opening kickoff, and threw an interception as time ran out. In between, APW turned the ball over eight other times.
“You turn the ball over ten times you’re not going to be in any game,” Rebels coach John Jeffries said. “It’s plain and simple. We killed ourselves.”
Ludden was only slightly better hanging onto the ball. The Gaelic Knights committed four turnovers.
“It was kind of a crazy game with all the turnovers,” Ludden coach Mike Rogers said. “It looked like Arena Football in the first quarter.”
Amid all the mistakes, the Gaelic Knights outscored APW 29-8 in the opening stanza. Three of Ludden’s four touchdowns followed Rebel turnovers.
The first one wasn’t, though. Ludden star running back Corey Wilkinson rumbled 70 yards to get the scoring started.
After the Rebels took an 8-7 lead, Wilkinson followed an APW fumble with an 11-yard touchdown run. Antoin Montgomery then caught Zack Harding’s two point conversion pass to make it 15-8.
As it turned out, Montgomery was just getting started. On Ludden's next play from scrimmage, he stepped in front of an APW pass, and returned it 35 yards to paydirt.
On the ensuing kickoff, Montgomery stripped the ball from the Rebel return man, and ran it back nearly 50 yards before being pushed out of bounds. Wilkinson scored two plays later.
“He’s a great player,” Rogers said of Montgomery. “He’s one of the most explosive guys in the area. It doesn’t surprise us when he does stuff like that.”
Ludden scored single touchdowns in the second and third quarters. The first was a 19-yard pass from Harding to Conlan McGuire. The second was a 22 yard run by Wilkinson.
Wilkinson was the Gaelic Knights statistical leader. The senior ran the ball 17 times for 204 yards.
“We advanced, so we’re happy,” Rogers said. “We’re looking forward to next week.”