Sure, those tough, grind-it-out games the East Syracuse-Minoa football team often goes through (and often wins) are great character-builders.
But once in a while, it's quite healthy to just dominate from the start and have no stress in the fourth quarter.
This latter scenario is exactly what the Spartans got last Friday night, when it went to Mexico and flattened the Tigers in a 41-14 decision.
With that victory, ESM moved to 5-0 on the season and moved closer to clinching the Class A American division regular-season championship.
Having gone through a tough, physical 14-7 first-place battle with Cortland the week before, the Spartans made absolutely sure that didn't happen again, matching the Cortland point total in the first quarter alone.
It started with Dustin Moss, the Spartans' primary running back, scoring on a five-yard run. Later in the period, ESM drove back to the Tigers' five-yard line, then had Ben Kreischer throw a touchdown pass to Sahar Nero.
Then Jacob Curtis, assuming a larger role in ESM's offensive plans, took over in the second quarter. He scored on a one-yard plunge, then broke wide open so that Kreischer could throw a 48-yard TD pass to him that made it 28-0.
Mexico would finally get on the board before halftime, but the Spartans countered with Moss breaking loose on a 25-yard TD run. On its way to a 35-7 lead at the break, ESM had Andy Heagle make all five of his extra-point attempts.
True, the Spartans would cool down in the second half, but it didn't need the points. Ken Cannon would score on a five-yard run in the fourth quarter, though.
ESM could clinch first place in the Class A American division if it prevails Friday at Fowler. Game time is 4 p.m. The Falcons are 2-3, coming off a hard-fought 8-6 defeat to Fulton, and need the win if it wants any shot at the post-season.