Through the first weeks of 2006, the Jamesville-DeWitt football team never had a situation where it had to rely totally on its experienced defense to pull out a win.
That changed in a big way last Friday afternoon, when the Red Rams needed every last bit of resistance to fight through a challenge from Chittenango and earn a 10-7 victory over the Bears.
Back home, and a week removed from its tough 20-14 loss to East Syracuse-Minoa, J-D felt that it could easily contain a Chittenango squad that had not scored an offensive touchdown in more than two games.
Sure enough, the Rams' defense kept the Bears in check all through the first three quarters, but J-D had its own troubles moving the ball, which explains why Mike Centra's 28-yard field goal was the lone scoring in the first half.
In the third quarter, the shutout continued. More importantly, J-D added to its lead when, from the Bears' 16-yard line, Jake Valentino broke loose and found the end zone, making it 10-0.
Still, Chittenango hung in there, and ended its long offensive drought when, in the fourth quarter, Scott Corp scored on a one-yard run to slash J-D's lead to three. For the game, Corp had 102 yards on 21 carries.
J-D stalled, and the Bears smartly moved the ball to the Rams' three-yard line with barely two minutes to play.
On the verge of a painful defeat, J-D saw its fortunes turn when the Bears fumbled -- and the Rams fell on it. The Rams would run out the clock, and claim its third win in four tries.
Again, the defense was a big part of the story. Vinny Graham backed up his 15 tackles with two big interceptions, and Travis Suppes earned a team-best 10 tackles. Chris Daddario ran 12 times for 93 yards.
Going back on the road Friday night, J-D (3-1) plays Mexico (2-2), as the Tigers come off a 34-7 loss to ESM.