Absolutely no one was going to keep the Westhill football team from the Section III Class B championship this time - even a neighbor hungry for its first-ever title.
Leading from start to finish, the Warriors polished off Marcellus 37-22 Saturday night in the Carrier Dome, beating the Mustangs for the 11th straight time.
More importantly, Westhill atoned for three frustrating years of getting to the sectional finals and meeting defeat.
"It's very special," Westhill head coach Gary Griffo said. "These players wanted it extremely badly, and made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point."
For veteran players like Tyler Nigolian, who went through most of those near-misses (losses to Cazenovia in 2006 and '07, and Oneida in 2008), that feeling was extra-special.
"It means everything," Nigolian said. "To get there (to the finals) and lose so many times, and to finally win it is a powerful feeling."
The milestone for Marcellus was just getting this far for the first time in the program's history. And while the Mustangs adjusted to this bigger stage, Westhill bolted out to a 16-0 lead, and never got caught.
"We came out a little hesitant and nervous," Mustang quarterack Will Fiacchi said. "After that, we were okay, but it (the deficit) was just too much to overcome."
According to Marcellus head coach Joe Goss, the fact that his team played in the Carrier Dome earlier this season (beating Chittenango in the Kickoff Classic Sept. 4) should have made things easier for this final, but did not.
"We thought that it was going to be an advantage," Goss said. "But they (Westhill) had gone here before and lost, and were a little bit more motivated."
Marcellus, who lost at Westhill 13-10 on Sept. 18, did have the first chance to score on its opening possession of the game, but saw Brendan Carey's 44-yard field-goal attempt went wide right.