If the Cazenovia football team wanted to construct the perfect set-up for this Saturday's Class C South division regular-season championship game at Westmoreland, it would look just like what actually took place.
Going to Clinton last Saturday afternoon, the Lakers, no. 3 in the state Class C rankings, did not have the easiest time dealing with the 2-3 Warriors, and had to work all four quarters to earn a 27-6 victory.
However, since it wasn't that easy, head coach Tom Neidl got to see his starters for most of the game, something that didn't take place in one-sided shutouts over Canastota (31-0) and Mount Markham (42-0) the previous two weeks.
As a whole, Cazenovia had outscored its six opponents 240-31, a trend similar to the Section III Class B title teams of 2006 and '07, even with a different class, a different set of foes and an entirely different starting lineup.
Actually, Clinton wasn't that different, having gone with Cazenovia in the move from Class B East one season ago. What had changed, though, was that the Warriors were no pushover, and the Lakers would have to battle them to the end.
On a gorgeous fall afternoon, Cazenovia put up the game's opening points in the first quarter, driving to Clinton's three-yard line before Chad Dorrance took it home.
Though far from sharp, the Lakers had time to settle in on the offensive side, since Clinton was getting nowhere against the fast, physical Cazenovia resistance. Sean Dougherty (14 tackles) and Mike McGinnis (11 tackles) led the Lakers' strong defensive effort.
That margin grew to 14-0 in the second quarter when, from Clinton's 14-yard line, Dorrance ran home for his second TD of the day.
So it remained until the third period. Again, Clinton had difficulty moving the ball. Again, the Lakers patiently answered as another scoring drive led to Dorrance scoring for the third time on a one-yard plunge. For the day, Dorrance had 19 carries for 87 yards.