Faced with its first serious test of the 2009 season, the Cazenovia football team responded in a decisive manner.
The Lakers used 31 unanswered points in the second half to get away from Canastota and produce a 55-20 victory over the Raiders in Saturday's home opener at Buckley-Volo Field.
This was the first chance for Cazenovia fans to see their Lakers at home in 2009. Seven days earlier, in the Sept. 5 opener, the Lakers had gone to Altmar-Parish-Williamstown and blanked the Rebels 49-0.
Barely tested there, the Lakers expected more work against Canastota, who led Class C power Bishop Ludden in the fourth quarter of its Sept. 4 opener before taking a 38-28 defeat.
Sure enough, the Raiders proved a headache for a while, even as Cazenovia notched 17 first-quarter points.
Hopsicker got it started, finding Justin Hoffman on a 49-yard TD pass. Going back to the air on the Lakers' next possession, Hopsicker struck again, this time finding Tom Colligan on a 45-yard scoring pass.
All that, plus Chris Rogers drilling a 43-yard field goal (one of the longest in school history) didn't faze the Raiders, who got on the board late in the period as Jamie Meade scored on a three-yard run.
It got closer in the second quarter. Canastota scored twice, on Zach Zupan's four-yard run and quarterback Bill Marsh finding Alex Foster on a 60-yard TD pass.
In between, Hopsicker demonstrated his speed by racing 50 yards for another TD, and that bit of magic kept the Lakers in front, 24-20, going into halftime.
Canastota had the ball early in the third quarter, ready to perhaps seize the lead. Instead, Marsh threw an errant pass -- and Dorrance snatched it, returning the interception 35 yards for a touchdown, by far the game's most important play.
Fired up by that play, Cazenovia proceeded to dominate the rest of the contest, wearing down the Raiders on both side of the ball.
Dorrance would score on the offensive side, with a three-yard run, while Golden and Dan Majewski added late TD's and Rogers struck again with a 35-yard field goal.
Off to yet another 2-0 start, Cazenovia heads Saturday to Sherburne-Earlville, a day after Canastota again pursues its first win of the season when it hosts Mount Markham.