Run the ball, block, tackle, force turnovers -- the basics in football never really change, no matter what kind of wrinkle gets thrown into the formula.
The Solvay Bearcats understand all this - and by sticking to those basics, it earned itself the right to play at home in the opening round of the Section III Class B playoffs.
Much was on the line last Friday when the Bearcats visited Marcellus. Both teams had 5-1 records and were gunning for second place in the Class B West division.
Also, the Tom Anthony Cup, named in honor of the late coach who worked at both Solvay and Marcellus, was on the line, and the Bearcats wanted it back after a narrow defeat in 2006.
Solvay would get it back, forcing six turnovers and using a consistent, effective ground game to eat up large portions of the clock as it beat Marcellus 28-13.
This template was established right after the Mustangs received the opening kickoff. On the second play from scrimmage, Marcellus quarterback Will Fiacchi threw to his favorite receiving target, Jeff Watson, for a short gain. But Watson fumbled, and Solvay recovered.
The Bearcats promptly marched 57 yards, all on the ground, and drained more than six minutes from the clock. Ben Carl went the last three yards for the touchdown, and Solvay went in front 6-0.
Even though Marcellus answered with its own drive that Andy Caster capped off with a two-yard TD run to put his team up 7-6, the Bearcats were not too flustered.
If any single play turned the game around, it came in the second period. Trying to add to its slim edge, Marcellus went for the deep ball. Fiacchi threw to Dan Knickerbocker, but the ball caromed off his chest and into the arms of Solvay defensive back Casey Pucello at the one-yard line.