For just a moment, forget all the circumstances -- two undefeated teams facing each other, a record crowd of 3,500, the bright lights of a national television spotlight offered by ESPNU -- that made Friday night's football game between Christian Brothers Academy and Corcoran so unique.
What it really boiled down to was that the Brothers' pride was wounded, and it wanted to show the Cougars, and everyone else, that the holders of the Section III Class AA crown had no intention of stepping down from the throne.
So as all those eyes looked on at Alibrandi Stadium, CBA played close to perfection in the first half and destroyed Corcoran's short-term ambitions, earning a 42-14 victory, its 55th in a row at home.
Of course, the surroundings could not be ignored. Cars filled up the lots around CBA more than two hours before kickoff, and the stands quickly filled, spilling over to the surrounding fences and hillsides.
By the time the Brothers and Cougars took to the field for the kickoff just after 8 p.m., the noise from both student sections (CBA in purple, Corcoran in maroon) shook the place, and it was difficult for anyone, especially players, not to get caught up in it.
CBA found a way, though. And it was rooted in the events of the previous week, when the Brothers' defense blew a 20-point lead at West Genesee, only to get bailed out by a power outage that delayed the game for 80 minutes, allowing CBA to regroup -- and eventually win.
Nothing was going to keep the Brothers' defense from shutting down Corcoran's potent attack -- which it would do for most of the night, shutting out Corcoran until the fourth quarter, when the game was well out of reach.
That pressure spilled over into special teams. Corcoran's raw nerves were exposed when, on two consecutive punt attempts, the snap went way over punter Sean McMahon's ahead, and he was forced to cover up inside the 20-yard line.