FAIRFIELD — In the Class LL standings, state powerhouse New Canaan and upstart Ludlowe were only separated by a few points heading into Friday’s showdown.
After watching the game, it is clear the gap is still fairly wide between the two on the field.
In a driving rain storm, Ludlowe hung in the game for most of the first half before New Canaan pulled away for a 41-7 win at Taft Field.
The win means New Canaan (7-2) is still alive in Class LL, though it will likely have to beat No. 1 Darien on Thanksgiving to get in.
The loss eliminates Ludlowe (6-3) from playoff contention but does not diminish the turnaround of the program this fall with a game against town rival Warde looming on Thanksgiving.
Ludlowe had won 3 games the previous three seasons.
“I have to give credit to the kids at Ludlowe and their staff, they have done a tremendous job,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “You will look at the score in the paper tomorrow and say ‘New Canaan blew them out,’ but I never got the feeling it was a blowout. That team can come back fast. I don’t think the weather helped them, at all. I think Ludlowe has arrived as a team you will have to worry about in the future.”
Out-sized on the line, Ludlowe had no illusions of running the ball, preferring to pass, which they did 45 times , only completing 18 in the foul weather.
“We were fine with three minutes left in the half, down 13-7 and then the wheels came off,” Ludlowe coach Mitch Ross said. “We knew we couldn’t run against them, they out-weigh us by 100 pounds in some spots. We had to do short passes and we just dropped a lot. They are a better team than we are, we know that. It just would have been nice if it was a better day to showcase what we do and make it an entertaining game. Tonight, was just sort of drudgery.”
New Canaan went up 13-0 in the first quarter on a 3-yard pass from Drew Pyne to Quintin O’Connell and a 2-yard run by Christian Sweeney.
The Rams were poised to extend their lead, but fumbled inside the 5-yard line early in the second quarter. Ludlowe turned that into a 95-yard scoring drive that culminated with Colin Wilson hitting Dylan Fragomeni, cutting the lead to 13-7.
Any momentum Ludlowe had was quickly wiped away when O’Connell broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run on New Canaan’s next play from scrimmage.
After a fumble by Ludlowe, the Rams would strike again before the end of the half when Pyne found Zach LaPolice for a 17-yard touchdown.
O’Connell added a 58-yard touchdown run in the third before Sweeney closed out the scoring with an 8-yard run.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Quintin O’Connell, New Canaan. Playing running running back rather than his usual wide receiver spot, O’Connell ran for 163 yards on 14 carries.
“The weather is part of it, this is football. Rain, snow, anything, we are good. We practiced a lot in the rain this year and it was kind of fun to play a game in it,” Pyne said. “We wanted to come in and win and Ludlowe is a good team and all respect to them.”
NEW CANAAN 41, LUDLOWE 7
NEW CANAAN 13 14 14 0—41
LUDLOWE 0 7 0 0 -7
Records: NC—7-2; L—6-3
NC—Quintin O’Connell 3 pass Drew Pyne (Nicholas Radman kick)
NC—Christian Sweeney 2 run (kick failed)
L—Dylan Fragomeni 10 pass Colin Wilson (Victor Cunha kick)
NC—O’Connell 70 run (Radman kick)
NC—Zach LaPolice 17 pass Pyne (Radman kick)
NC—O’Connell 58 run (Radman kick)
NC—Sweeney 8 run (Radman kick)