Inside the visiting team's locker room at Bragman Stadium late Friday night, the chant went up: RTD! RTD! RTD!
Spelled out, it says Return to Dominance, the rallying cry of the Liverpool football Warriors ever since Dave Mancuso took over as head coach.
Up until this night, the chant might have seemed idle. But that wasn't the case after the Warriors defeated its biggest rival, Cicero-North Syracuse, 24-22 in the latest spine-tingling chapter of this great neighborhood feud.
Lingering in the mind of both players and coaches alike was the 41-8 humiliation the Northstars gave the Warriors at Liverpool a year ago. So it wasn't a surprise when, as time ran out, members of the Tribe student section stormed the field to celebrate with the players.
Last year, they blew us out, said senior quarterback Mike Buckenmeyer. We wanted revenge, and we're excited to pull this off.
To pull it off, Liverpool had to be both opportunistic and tough, turning three CNS turnovers into touchdowns, then hanging on for dear life in the final minute as the Northstars mounted one last march.
Through most of the first half, the Warriors were in charge. It took a 3-0 lead on Ryan Argy's 23-yard field goal, then turned an Anthony Dolson fumble at midfield (Rich Neale scooped it up) into a scoring drive that culminated with Lonnie Johnson going six yards for the touchdown to make it 10-0.
CNS got back to within four, 10-6 and appeared ready to take the lead when, with 55 seconds left in the half, Laquan James fumbled at midfield and Paul Stanzione recovered.
Smartly using the clock, Buckenmeyer drove his team to the three-yard line. With Argy hurt, the Warriors gambled on a pass and, on the last play of the half, Buckenmeyer found Cody Latimer in the end zone, then kicked the extra point himself.