Lakers pull away from Ilion in opening round

Anyone that came to Buckley-Volo Field Saturday to see the Cazenovia football team apply another quick knockout to Ilion during the opening round of the Section III Class C playoffs would be disappointment.

However, that was about the only disappointment of the day, as the Lakers again asserted itself in all phases of the game and pulled clear of the Golden Bombers in a 36-0 decision, the team's fifth shutout in seven outings.

On its way to a 7-0 mark, Cazenovia has not allowed a point in three weeks and has given up exactly one touchdown in five weeks, as defense continues to be the team's primary key to its domination.

To counter Ilion's big presence on the line, the Lakers used its speed, especially in the front seven, to chase down anyone in a while jersey.

Cazenovia's top two linebackers, Cody Foster and Dan Majewski, each picked up 11 tackles, while defensive tackle Clancy Kemp gained seven tackles. Back in the secondary, Zack Golden picked up an interception as Foster also pounced on an Ilion fumble.

Since the Lakers' defense was so brutally effective, it could afford to be patient on the offensive side, even if the results against Ilion contrasted with the team's recent fast starts.

Unable to dominate on the ground, Cazenovia turned to the air to account for all of its first-half points. In the first quarter, Jeff Hopsicker threw to Tom Colligan for a 30-yard touchdown pass, and in the second period the pair again connected, this time on a 44-yard scoring play.

With Hopsicker going nine-for-18 for 177 yards, the Lakers again drove to the end zone in the third quarter, this time ending with Chad Dorrance running two yards for the TD.

Dorrance, who finished with 88 yards on 22 carries, moved out of the backfield in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. First, he caught a 21-yard scoring pass from Hopsicker, and he also got a two-point conversion after Golden's 32-yard TD run late in the game.

For Cazenovia, the challenge figures to be greater in this Saturday's Class C South/East semifinal, as it will face Holland Patent.

The Golden Knights are 6-1, its lone loss coming 21-14 to Cooperstown on Sept. 26, and HP dominated its first-round game, blanking Mount Markham 42-0 as John Iselo earned a pair of touchdowns.

Either Cazenovia or HP will face the survivor of the Canastota-Cooperstown game next weekend for the Class C South/East title.

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