With the warm sunshine and temperatures above 80, the latest boys soccer showdown between Marcellus and Skaneateles had the feel of an opening-week contest, rather than one held early in October.
And it certainly has been a learning process for the young Lakers throughout the fall. It absorbed another painful lesson here, too, in the course of a 4-1 loss to the Mustangs -- the exact same margin of their original meeting on Sept. 11.
Carrying just two seniors on its roster (just one of them starts), Skaneateles is far removed from the senior-heavy power that reached last year's Section III Class B final.
As such, it has taken some rough treatment from OHSL Liberty division foes, including the Mustangs, who did not arrive in the best of moods. The Mustangs were playing its fifth game in nine days, and had gone 2-2 in the previous stretch, both wins and both defeats coming by a single goal.
They were heading on this same path against Skaneateles, too. Coming out with fire and energy, the Lakers had most of the early chances, and capitalized when, in the 18th minute, Kyle Baier took a pass from Jesse Carr and fired a low shot past Kyle Blackmer to give the Lakers a 1-0 edge.
With exactly two minutes left in the first half, Marcellus got even when, off a free kick rebound and a nice pass from Alex Rouse, Joe Carelli scored, beating sophomore goalie Jake Bird, in for usual starter Zach Brownlee.
Then, in a span of less than 11 minutes in the second half, a tense battle turned into a three-goal Mustang margn.
Chris Grosso broke the tie, scoring in the 48th minute. The game's key sequence followed, as the Lakers were poised to make it 2-2 when Carr, left open by the Mustangs' defense took a point-blank shot from the middle of the field.