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Lakers fight past Phoenix in Dome appearance

Sure, it meant a nine-day wait after its opener, and it also meant a short week of rest before it would go on further.

But the Skaneateles football team would gladly take that temporary hardship in exchange for an appearance in the Carrier Dome -- and for a victory, too.

The Lakers got both on Sunday afternoon, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to break a tie with Phoenix and earn a 21-7 victory over the Firebirds.

Fresh off scoring 31 points in its opening loss to Solvay, the Lakers were eager to go after a Phoenix team that took Marcellus to overtime, so it knew the game wouldn't' be easy.

Skaneaeteles had every chance to make it a lopsided affair in the early stages, constantly pinning Phoenix deep in its own territory and making deep inroads.

However, in the first quarter, Matt Wood was stuffed on one fourth down at the Firebirds' six-yard line, and penalties thwarted the Lakers other times, keeping the game 0-0 for a while.

Midway through the second period, Skaneateles finally broke through, as Matt Butterfield took a counter handoff and raced 23 yards to the end zone, and the Lakers had a 7-0 lead.

Phoenix improved its field position through a good kick return, then answered with a 67-yard march that covered more than five minutes of clock. On a sweep, R.J. Beeles raced 25 yards for the TD, and the extra point tied it, 7-7, as the teams went to halftime.

Slowly, the Lakers' defense began to assert itself, as Phoenix found itself unable to move for much of the second half. Star running Paul Raymond was held to 95 yards, this after a five-touchdown effort against Marcellus a week earlier.

Gradually, Skaneateles began to win the field position battle again, and even though Wood fumbled at the one-yard line early in the fourth quarter, the Lakers forced Phoenix to punt from its end zone, providing a short field.

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