In wildly varying ways, the East Syracuse-Minoa and Jamesville-DeWitt football teams held their positions in the Class A American division Friday night as the post-season neared.
Effective both on the ground and in the air, the Spartans' offense flourished on home turf in a 42-16 victory over the Fowler Falcons.
At the same time, the Red Rams ventured south to Cortland and again showcased its defense as it beat the Purple Tigers by a score of 13-3.
ESM improved to 5-1 on the season by not entirely leaning on Dustin Moss, even though he ran for 165 yards and moved his season total to 1,322 yards.
On its way to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, the Spartans featured quarterback Tyler Johnson, who threw deep and found Sharif Nero for a 42-yard touchdown connection. Moss later added a 23-yard TD run before the quarter was done.
Fowler got on the board early in the second quarter, moving to ESM's 24-yard line before Kelvin Amparo hit Josh Cruz in the end zone.
In response, ESM returned to the ground, its offensive line pushing away Fowler defenders on two different scoring drives. Johnson finished one march with a one-yard plunge, with Moss going 13 yards for his second TD to make it 27-6 going into halftime.
Not stopping there, the Spartans settled matters in the third quarter, Johnson leading two drives and scoring on a second one-yard run and a two-yard pass to Connor Haynes.
Fowler managed 10 unanswered points in the final period, but that came against ESM's reserves.
All season long, J-D has struggled on the offensive side, putting up just 59 points in five games. Still, the Red Rams claimed its third win in four weeks by shutting Cortland down.
Only once did the Purple Tigers get close to the end zone, reaching the Rams' five-yard line before J-D stopped them, forcing Cortland to settle for Justin Burns' 22-yard field goal.