Even the best of football teams make mistakes. The truly great ones know how to respond.
So it was with the Cazenovia Lakers early in last Saturday's game at Little Falls. Ahead after an early touchdown, it got burned when the Mounties' Devin Mannuzz ran back the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
While that might have sparked the home team, it downright angered the visitors -- and Little Falls would pay for it.
By the time that first quarter was done, the Lakers had piled up 27 points and would never get caught again, eventually beating the Mounties 47-19 to move to 3-0 on the season.
Perhaps the Lakers are not the supremely dominant force on both sides of the ball that it was in back-to-back Section III Class B championship runs in 2006 and '07. But it still has plenty available to handle the winning part.
And all that respect gained through years of winning allowed the Lakers to assume the no. 3 spot in the first state Class C rankings of the season, right behind defending state champion Bishop Ludden and Dobbs Ferry.
And Cazenovia did little to discourage the championship talk at Little Falls, especially in the opening period.
Chad Dorrance got it started, scoring from five yards out, but the real spark came with Mannuzza's kick return, a jarring reminder to everyone in blue and gold what can happen if things break down on any single play.
Newly determined (and still ahead 7-6 because the extra point got missed), Cazenovia drove right back down the field and scored on Seth Goldacker's six-yard run.
After a quick defensive hold, Cazenovia got it back in its own territory. From the 35, Goldacker took a handoff, followed his blocks and was gone, 65 yards to the other end zone, and Chris Rogers' extra point made it 20-6. For the game, Goldacker would enjoy 151 yards on 17 carries, giving him 323 yards for the season.