After three weeks of close calls and bitter disappointment, the Chittenango football team turned it around, thanks to the strong arm of Jon Stevens.
All Stevens did was throw for 309 yards and a single-game, school-record six touchdowns, as the Bears erased a double-digit deficit and survived an epic battle with Jamesville-DeWitt last Friday night, beating the Red Rams 46-39 in double overtime.
Only after Chittenango stuffed J-D's hopes to tie it in the second OT did the long fight come to an end, one where Stevens, a junior, had a chance to shine like never before.
In its first three games, the Bears managed just 35 total points, but had started to show some life in a 27-21 loss to Fulton on Sept. 21. Still, no one was prepared for the kind of barrage they would see on Chittenango's turf.
Setting the tone for later, Steven hit Shaun St. Onge on a three-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but J-D matched it and forged a 7-7 tie.
J-D's Dexter Green took over in the middle stages. Three times, he scored touchdowns -- on a pass from Joe Daddario, two others coming on runs of 16 and three yards, putting the Rams in control by the third quarter.
Even when Stevens found Travis Lee on a six-yard TD pass in the third quarter, the Bears still stared a 25-14 deficit when that period ended. Yet this was all just a prelude to the bigger show ahead.
Three times in the fourth quarter, Stevens would take the Bears into J-D territory. Each time, he finished those drives with TD passes, to three different receivers -- 17 yards to Andy Moth, 21 yards to Travis Lee, and eight yards to St. Onge.
All this helped the Bears negate Daddario's own seven-yard scoring run and force a 33-33 tie at the end of regulation.