By ridding itself of a year-old headache, the Cazenovia football team gets an opportunity to end a five-year championship drought.
Displaying yet again its ability to dominate on both sides of the ball, the Lakers romped past Homer, 48-0, in last Saturday's Section III Class B semifinal at Chittenango High School.
By doing so, Cazenovia helped partially atone for a 41-14 loss to those same Trojans in the 2005 sectional Class B final at the Carrier Dome.
More importantly, the Lakers earned a return trip to the Dome Saturday at 5 p.m. for a highly-anticipated Class B final against Westhill -- two 9-0 teams meeting for a title.
Through nine games, Cazenovia has flattened opponents by a combined score of 420-29, an astonishing fact that was supposed to change, at least a bit, with the presence of Homer and its record-setting running back, Mark Brenchley.
All it took, though, was one play to set the tone in the Lakers' favor. On third down at midfield on Homer's opening drive, Brenchley tried to run outside, but he fumbled -- and speedy linebacker Brandon Moyer returned it 58 yards for a touchdown, putting Cazenovia up 7-0 with the game barely three minutes old.
In all, Homer would commit four turnovers in the first half. Even when the Trojans pinned the Lakers on its three-yard line late in the opening period, the Lakers marched 97 yards in six plays, most of it on Coleman Koesterer's 60-yard pass to Aaron Race. Brian Bartlett ran the final yard for the score.
Cazenovia's defense made its biggest stop early in the second quarter. A bad punt left Homer on the Lakers' 30-yard line, but Tom Eschen jumped on a fumbled pitch at the 36-yard line. On the very next play, Moyer broke through the secondary and was gone, a 64-yard run to the end zone to make it 20-0.