A lingering two-month wound got healed when the Liverpool football team went to Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium last Friday night and crushed Baldwinsville 35-8 in the opening round of the Section III Class AA playoffs.
Now the Warriors are poised to end two seasons full of frustration at the expense of defending state champion West Genesee when the two sides meet Saturday in the AA semifinals at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
First, though, Liverpool had to take care of B'ville. It had done so once before, on Sept. 5, but the aftermath clouded the entire picture.
What had been a 32-12 victory got tarnished on two fronts. First, a third-quarter brawl on the Liverpool sideline led to several Warrior players suspended for the following game against Corcoran and some ill will on both sides.
Then the game itself got thrown out when it was discovered that Liverpool used an ineligible player above the high-school age limit of 19. So because of a mistake in paperwork, the Warriors technically were seeking revenge -- and vindication -- in B'ville.
It got both, in a big way, even though the Bees had vastly improved in the ensuing two months and carried a four-game win streak into the game. Really, it took just 15 seconds for Liverpool to seize control.
That was the length of time required to pick up a short kickoff at the 40-yard line and, on the first play from scrimmage, watch junior tailback Greg Bell tear through a whole on the right, then cut up the middle and go 60 yards for a touchdown.
So began a first-half blitz that featured both Bell and Corey Bundrage. On each of B'ville's first two possessions, Bundrage sacked quarterback Nico Manning on third down to force a punt.
In between, Bell put together a series of runs to B'ville's 31, which brought the Bees' defense close to the line of scrimmage. Accordingly, Tyler Kamide threw over them, finding Bundrage wide-open for a TD that made it 14-0.