Two of the area's high school football teams made separate road trips on Saturday. Only one would come back victorious - though the other came close.
Westhill, the reigning three-time Class B West regular-season champions, started another title quest at Phoenix and breezed to a 37-0 victory over the Firebirds.
Meanwhile, Jordan-Elbridge found itself in a tense battle with Port Byron, playing solid defense, but still taking a 14-6 loss to the Panthers.
The Eagles, desperate to improve on last season's 1-6 regular-season mark, proved difficult to score on, its defense harassing the Panthers throughout the afternoon.
Clint Daniels had a team-best 16 tackles, with Zach Stevenson contributing 11 tackles. Jeff Guadagnolo (seven tackles) and Sean Cooper (six tackles) were close behind.
Only once, when Caleb Green threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Zach Kudia and Rob Yeomans added a two-point conversion, did Port Byron break through.
However, that 8-0 lead held up for a long while because J-E was making its share of mistakes on the offensive side - some of them due to Panther defensive pressure, others from typical early-season flubs. Overall, the team had 194 total yards, with just 66 yards on the ground.
Despite this, J-E nearly tied it up in the fourth quarter. Zach Frost, back under center after missing much of the 2008 season due to injury, made a big play when, from the 50-yard line, he threw deep and found Jeff Donofrio, who reached the end zone.
Now down 8-6, the Eagles went for two points and a tie, but could not convert.
Needing a drive, Port Byron got it, going 60 yards and taking five minutes off the clock before Travis Snyder went 18 yards for a touchdown. J-E could not answer.
In sharp contrast, Westhill, beaten in each of the last three Section III Class B finals, began its latest quest for glory by overwhelming Phoenix with its potent passing game.