T. J. Gallagher takes home trophy from Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving morning, the Warde Mustangs earned bragging rights throughout the town of Fairfield, defeating rival Ludlowe, 44-21, at Taft Field.
T.J. Gallagher was the star, rushing for 314 yards and five touchdowns to give Warde a 6-5 lead in the Thanksgiving series.
“We had a great week in practice,” Gallagher said. “That was the key to our victory today. The line really stepped up today.”
The Warde offensive line of Colin McKeown, Amhed Hourani, Tyler Mazut, Vincent Dumas and Billy Money helped their junior tailback and the Mustang offense rack up well over 400 yards and take home the Gallagher-Banyas Trophy.
“That’s what I expect of Gallagher all year,” said Warde coach Duncan DellaVolpe. “He missed two games and it’s tough to lose someone like that.”
The Mustangs struck first on a 72-yard drive late in the first quarter. Warde moved the ball in 12 plays thanks to 42 yards rushing from Gallagher and Brandon Bisack passes to Andrew Girard and Brian Kerrigan to set up a 3-yard touchdown run from Gallagher.
After a Ludlowe three-and-out, the Mustangs started with the ball on their 40.
Gallagher got the ball, broke two tackles and sprinted down the sideline for the touchdown. His two-point conversion run gave Warde a 14-0 lead.
“Last year was tough,” Gallagher said of Ludlowe’s 31-13 win in 2012. “We had to come back and show the town who we really are and what we really could do and I think we did that today.”
The Falcons answered immediately with a 74-yard return from Matt White to put Ludlowe at the Warde 12.
After three attempts from the red zone, the Falcons’ Warren Davis punched it in from three yards out to make it 14-6. The Falcons extra-point attempt was no good.
The Mustangs countered with a drive of their own.
Ryan Brown put Warde in good position when he returned the kickoff to the 48-yard line.
Colin Ventura started the drive with runs of 15, 12 and 8 yards. And then a four-yard Gallagher rush put the Mustangs at the nine. Gallagher rushed for six and then scored from three yards out.
Bisack connected with Kerrigan on the two-point conversion to push the score to 22-6.
“Warde ran exactly what we were expecting,” said Ludlowe coach Vin Camera. “We put them defensively in good positions, but we just didn’t execute.”
After a pair of empty possessions, the Falcons caught a break when Warde fumbled the punt and it was recovered by Ludlowe at its 43.
The Falcons then marched 57 yards in 11 plays. The drive started with completions from White to Nick Inniamo and Michael Arman.
Then on third down, White rushed for 14 yards to keep the drive alive. White then hit Innaimo for four yards before he found O’Leary to set up a one-yard White run to make it a 22-12 game at the half.
In the third period, Warde started with the ball and scored on the opening drive.
The Mustangs moved 60 yards in 11 plays, 42 of which were rushing yards from Gallagher. Bisack found Brown for the six-yard score to make it 30-12 after Gallagher’s two-point conversion was successful.
On Ludlowe’s first possession of the second half, Joey Potenza had an interception for the Mustangs at the Warde 20.
Gallagher quickly capitalize on the turnover, when he gashed the Ludlowe defense for a 75-yard score. Bisack found Brown for the two-point conversion to make it 38-12.
Gallagher got his fifth touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Warde started at its eight. Two Ventura runs and a Bisack pass to Kerrigan got them out of the shade of the end zone.
Then Gallagher had runs of 7 and 6 yards to put Warde at the 31. From 69 yards out, Gallagher sliced through the Ludlowe defense again for his final score. Gallagher even tried a halfback pass on the two-point conversion, but the pass was incomplete, giving Warde a 44-12 lead.
Ludlowe got two more points on the next Warde drive when the Mustangs’ punt was blocked by Stephen Zadravec and the ball went out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Ludlowe scored again in the game’s final moments when Inniamo scored from one-yard out after Ludlowe started at midfield.
Ludlowe got to the one, thanks to a 16-yard run by Jimmy Gasper.
Inniamo then punched it in from there to bring the game to a conclusion, 44-21.

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