Even with all the new faces on defense and a general question about whether it could dominate again, the Cazenovia football team offered a strong start to the defense of its Section III Class B championship.
Up against an overmatched squad from Clinton last Saturday at Buckley-Volo Field, the Lakers had a 41-0 lead by halftime and breezed home to a 47-6 victory over the Warriors.
This is how it was for much of 2006, when the Lakers had games well in hand by halftime and the first-team defense took pride in its shutout streak, which now has reached 12 games.
Tom Groetz began the onslaught with a 22-yard touchdown run just 1:59 into the game, and from there Artie Bigsby took over.
A tight end last fall, Bigsby saw more time in the backfield against Clinton, and that translated into TD runs of 30 and six yards that made it 20-0.
All the while, Bigsby was his usual dominant self on defense, rendering 13 tackles, many of them for losses, while teammate Ben Dewan also set the tone with two interception, both of which led to scores.
Dewan's second pick led to the game's longest play. From his own 43-yard line, Coleman Koesterer threw a screen pass to Dewan, who tore down the right sideline past all the Warriors defenders until he found the end zone, making it 27-0.
Cazenovia got both of its second-quarter scores through punts. Clinton dropped a snap near the end zone, and Bigsby pounced on it for one TD, and Justin Hoffmann ran behind a string of perfect blocks 55 yards for six more points.
Koesterer, whose main highlight was a 50-yard run where he knocked over a Clinton defender and kept on going, would add his own 22-yard scoring run in the third quarter before going to the bench.
This proved to be little more than a warm-up for tougher games ahead -- such as Saturday's big trip to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill. The Red Devils are a serious Class B East contender, having won 35-26 at South Jefferson to open the season, so Cazenovia knows it will need a higher level of play than it needed against Clinton.