Steve Ellis did not disguise his disgust with the Cicero-North Syracuse football team he coaches after the team's shaky effort in a season-opening loss at home to Henninger on Sept. 4.
It's safe to stay that, a week later, Ellis felt a lot better.
Taking the long trip east to Utica Proctor, the Northstars defied all the low expectations and beat the Raiders 24-13 to move to 1-1.
Proctor, just 1-8 a season ago, were supposed to be on the rebound, especially since the Raiders knocked off archrival Rome Free Academy 40-30 in its opener.
Making matters worse for CNS, on the second play from scrimmage Proctor's Rich Pete took a handoff near his end zone and didn't get stopped until he was in the other end zone, 95 yards later.
Down 7-0, already with a loss on the ledger, CNS found out a lot about itself in the three-plus quarters that followed.
The turnaround began on the defensive side, where the Northstars held Pete to just 27 rushing yards the rest of the night.
They also contained Proctor quarterback Will Hawkins, who tore up RFA for 236 rushing yards, but had just 62 yards here, in addition to 131 yards through the air. Four different times in the first half, the Northstars stopped the Raiders when it drove into CNS territory.
Still, it wasn't until the third quarter when, still down 7-0, used a series of Proctor turnovers allowed the Northstars to turn things around.
A sack led to a Hawkins fumble, and CNS cashed in when running back Tom Padula scored from five yards out. When Pete muffed a punt minutes later, the Northstars got the ball again, then used Andrew Falvey's 22-yard field goal to seize a 10-7 lead.
Another Proctor possession, another forced turnover - and another CNS score, Padula going 34 yards near the goal line to set up his own five-yard score early in the fourth quarter.
The next time the Northstars had the ball, it was forced to punt - but Ellis called a fake, and Corey Barnes threw 24 yards to Xavier Richardson, setting up quarterback Ryan Lacey's one-yard scoring run.
Now the Northstars begin play in the Class AA-1 division, and will be favored when it visits Central Square on Friday at 6:30. The Red Hawks are 0-2 and are coming off allowing 56 first-half points to Auburn in a 74-32 defeat.