Through eight games - and eight wins, most of the convincing kind - the Baldwinsville football team remained fairly immune from the kind of injuries or illnesses that can ruin championship dreams.
It said quite a lot about the Bees that, when such a crisis emerged late in Friday's Section III Class AA semifinal against Corcoran at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium, it was ready to handle it.
Casey Colligan got forced into quarterback duty when Niko Manning went out with an injury - but Colligan led a crucial late drive to the winning score, and the Bees held on to beat the Cougars 22-15.
This moved the Bees to 9-0 and its first sectional final since 2002. If it can beat Christian Brothers Academy Saturday at 2 p.m. in the AA title game at the Carrier Dome, B'ville will end a 20-year championship drought.
B'ville went into the Corcoran game as a decided favorite, and for good reason. It was unbeaten and just coming off a 35-14 win over Fayetteville-Manlius in the first round where Malik Burks ran for 311 yards, surpassing the 2,000-yard mark for the season.
Corcoran, meanwhile, needed two overtimes to survive CNS 27-21, not the kind of effort to suggest that the Cougars would give the Bees much trouble.
Still, with a 6-2 mark, Corcoran was a quality opponent, bent on doing the same thing other B'ville foes had tried and failed to do - namely, contain Burks.
Stacking the line of scrimmage with defenders, the Cougars did keep Burks from running wild, as he got 184 yards, but needed 36 carries for that total - a modest average of five yards per carry. Seven times, Burks was stopped behind the line of scrimmage for losses.
That would keep things close all night - as would three B'ville turnovers, each of which Corcoran converted into points.