To a man, the Vernon Verona Sherrill football team sees the 2009 season as a chance to pay back all those foes that beat them up last fall, when the Red Devils finished last in Class B East.
With an older, more mature and more confident lineup, VVS began with a flourish on Saturday afternoon, outscoring Skaneateles 45-29 in a game played on the turf at Marcellus High School because the Lakers' new artificial turf field was not quite ready.
Several key starters for the Red Devils, including quarterback Tyler Mautner and skill players Colin Way, Dylan Guider and Tyler Curtis, are begiinning their junior seasons, and showed Skaneateles that they are far removed from their sophomore struggles.
For its part, the Lakers had good early chances to show that it was different from last year's struggles, too, with some early gems on the defensive side.
Cal Winkleman stopped Way on a fourth-down attempt on the Red Devils' first possession. Minutes later, when Mautner threw a pass into the flat, Kyle McQuiggan got a jump and had a clear path to the other end zone - only he dropped the potential interception.
That proved quite important, for VVS turned that missed Skaneateles opportunity into a touchdown drive, Mautner scoring on a two-yard plunge.
An even bigger sequence came just before the first quarter ended. Skaneateles drove inside the Red Devils' 10, only to get stopped short of an answering touchdown.
On the first play after a turnover on downs, Way found a hole on the left side and took off, the 5-11, 200-pound junior rumbling 87 yards for the longest TD run of his career. Instead of possibly falling behind, VVS now led 12-0, and would not get caught.
In a wild second quarter, the Lakers found the end zone twice, as quarterback Tom Schoener and running back Dylan VanHoltz both scored on two-yard runs.