NORWALK -- McMahon's quick-strike offense was back to full strength against Fairfield Ludlowe last Friday, one week after Trevon Forney sat out a loss to Wilton with a concussion.
If Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber were once thunder and lightning for the New York Giants, Forney and backfield mate Kyle Jordan (three touchdowns) were lightning and more lightning against the visiting Falcons, taking short screen passes and shooting through the Ludlowe defense for large gains in the Senators' 27-7 victory.
"I give all the credit to my linemen," Jordan said. "They just stuck on their blocks. We were a little fired up today, took a couple of penalties, but you know what, we're a big-play team. At any moment we can take off. I just told my linemen, 'Keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting,' and they kept fighting. And those holes just opened like the Red Sea."
Penalties on both teams -- including several false start penalties on McMahon (3-3) -- stunted the game's initial series. McMahon's first two drives both ended with uncharacteristic drops by Forney, and the game was scoreless after one quarter.
"We were sloppy on offense, too many penalties. We are not good enough to do that, and I think that's what stalled us in the first half," McMahon coach AJ Albano said.
McMahon's third series began with a false start. Following the penalty, McMahon quarterback Matt Downey (7 for 12 for 172 yards) threw to Forney in the flat and the speedy back sliced through the Falcons' defense, making several tacklers miss on the 42-yard play. On the next play Jordan dashed into the end zone from 22 yards out and the Senators led 7-0. The 22-yard run accounted for nearly one-third of Jordan's 65 yards rushing (17 carries).
"They really didn't run on us, but the screens killed us," Fairfield Ludlowe coach Matt McCloskey said.
Ludlowe answered on the ensuing possession. The drive opened with a 33-yard pass down the middle from Matthew White to wide receiver Victor D'Ascenzo, which D'Ascenzo caught in the middle of three McMahon defenders. Bruising sophomore fullback Christian Ghiorzi (6-2, 230 pounds) carried twice for 27 yards, but he fumbled his third carry on McMahon's 3-yard line. Ludlowe was fortunate to recover, and three plays later -- on fourth down at the McMahon 1-yard line -- White scored on a quarterback keeper, and Ludlowe tied the game 7-7.
McMahon responded with another quick-strike touchdown. After Ludlowe defensive back Daniel Santella made a terrific pass defense of a long pass attempt from Downey to Forney, Downey followed on second down with a screen pass to Jordan, who dashed down the middle of the field, all but untouched, for an 86-yard touchdown to make 14-7 with 6:46 left in the opening half.
"Screens have killed us all year, so it's obviously something we still need to work on," McCloskey said.
Ludlowe engineered an 11-play drive that ate up nearly five minutes towards the end of the second quarter. But on 4th-and-three from McMahon's 16-yard line, McCloskey opted to forego a field goal attempt and handed the ball to Ghiorzi (11 rushes for 46 yards). The big fullback was stopped short and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs.
"I probably should have kicked the field goal," McCloskey said. "I was going for the first down. I thought we had the play to make it. I just made the wrong call, that's on me. I think going in 14-14 at halftime would have been a much different game."
It was one of several big defensive stands for McMahon.
"I thought the defense stepped it up, played bend but don't break," Albano said. "We had a couple of fourth down stops. We had some turnovers this week. We won the turnover battle. I thought that was big."
McMahon picked off from four passes by Ludlowe quarterbacks -- two apiece by White and sometime sub Peter Cross. The Senators put the game out of reach with a 5-yard touchdown from Jordan at the beginning of the fourth quarter, followed by two field goals from Henry Limon.
With games looming against Ridgefield and Greenwich, Albano said his team can't afford the mental breakdowns that hampered the team at times against Ludlowe (1-5).
"We've got to become more disciplined moving forward with good teams on our schedule," Albano said.
Brien McMahon 27, Ludlowe 7
LUDLOWE 0 7 0 0--7
BRIEN McMAHON 0 14 7 6--27
BM--Jordan 22 run (Limon kick)
FL--White 1 run (Howell kick)
BM--Jordan 86 pass Downey (Limon kick)
BM--Jordan 5 run (Limon kick)
Records: FL 1-5, BM 3-3