First an unexpected meltdown in the rain against CBA, now a quick 14-0 deficit to Cicero-North Syracuse.
Was the Fayetteville-Manlius football team's 2007 season, so full of promise and expectations, falling apart in an avalanche of penalty flags and poor defense?
The Hornets sensed that danger -- and once it got rid of the penalties and started to toughen up its resistance on Saturday night, it turned things around, rallying to beat the Northstars 28-14 and improve to 3-1 on the season.
With the win, F-M forged a six-way tie among all the teams in the Class AA-1 division, each of them with 1-1 marks in league play.
Still haunted by the finish against CBA, where yellow flags were rampant and the Hornets blew a 21-10 lead when the rain arrived for the fourth quarter, F-M had the worst possible start against the Northstars.
A 15-yard personal foul got CNS launched on its opening drive, a 68-yard march where Anthony Dolson did most of the work with a 15-yard swing pass and 24-yard run. Steven Ianzito threw to Chad Dubiel in the middle of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown pass that put the Northstars up 7-0.
Later in the period, CNS got pinned on its own 12-yard line, but moved out of trouble, then struck big when Ianzito, from his own 35, found Laquan James over the middle, and James sprinted from midfield down the right sideline to complete a 65-yard scoring play.
At this moment, the Hornets could have disintegrated. Instead, piece by piece, it began restoring the pride it talks about all the time and even puts on its helmets.
The starting point was Louis Pascarella's kick return to the 45-yard line, beginning a short march where Mike Rosenbaum and Austin Straub did most of the running. Straub finished it off with a nine-yard TD run, and despite a missed extra point, F-M was breathing again.