Faced by the imposing sight of the Christian Brothers Academy boys soccer team, most opponents just melt away.
Not Jamesville-DeWitt, though. More than anyone else, the Red Rams yearn to compete with -- and beat -- the Brothers, who ended J-D's season last fall in a conflict-marred Section III Class A quarterfinal.
Meeting for the first time since that playoff clash last Tuesday afternoon, the Red Rams would not hand CBA its first defeat of 2006, but it did earn a 1-1 draw and had its share of opportunities to win outright.
These teams were similar in more than just their geographic proximity. In Colin Price (CBA) and Mike Canfield (J-D), the Brothers and Red Rams both possessed players returning this season after missing most of 2005 with broken legs.
What remains constant, though, is the toughness of the Rams' defense, something that was felt throughout this game. No matter where the CBA forwards went, one or two defenders went with them. Mike Lickstein, John Clark, Tim Kendrick and Max Boyricki all stood out in this pursuit.
Meanwhile, the Rams had all kinds of chances to go ahead early. Nick Cava's early breakaway ended in a shot just wide of the net. Joe Krisch made a great grab of a deflected free kick a few minutes later.
And in the 17th minute, Brian Karalunas, the one-time goalie, charged in and had an open net, since Krisch was on the ground. Karalunas shot it wide.
So it remained 0-0 well into the second half. In the 55th minute, CBA's lethargic attack finally came to life when, off Mawuena Agbossoumonde's free kick from the right side, Gale Agbossoumonde headed it past J-D goalie Jamie Kogut.
Down by a goal, the Rams continued to make plenty of open pursuits. This paid off when, with 8:53 left, Daniel Perl got open on the right, dribbled deftly around a CBA defender, and ripped a shot that eluded Krisch and found the net.