If this newest version of the Oneida football team wanted to reign in the Class B East division, it had to do more than just make exciting escapes in one-point wins.
Such an ending was not to be found Friday night, though, as the Indians went north to Adams and could not contain South Jefferson in a 26-14 loss to the Spartans.
Much of the attention centered on South Jefferson running back A.J. Chartrand, for good reason. He torched Oneida's defense for 239 yards on 27 carries, including a pair of touchdowns.
Despite all this, the Indians still had all kinds of chances to take control of the game, especially at the end of the first half, when it all turned in the Spartans' favor.
Down 3-0 after Chartrand's 22-yard field goal in the first quarter, Oneida moved to the front when it drove to South Jefferson's 18-yard line, then saw quarterback Jeremy Rodriguez hit Eric Riley in the end zone.
Chartrand's first TD briefly put the Spartans back in front 10-6, but that only set the stage for the wild developments in the last two minute of that second period.
It all began when Chartrand saw a 79-yard TD run called back on a holding penalty. That flag proved more costly when Matt Mosack pounced on a Jory Tanner fumble at the Spartans' 11, and Kyle Armstrong ran in for a TD on the next play to put the Indians back in front 14-10 (Nate Mallinder ran in for two points).
South Jefferson took the ensuing kickoff and, in just three plays, got back in the end zone, Tanner throwing 35 yards to a wide-open Hunter Van Horn for the score.
Just trying to run out the clock with a 17-14 deficit, Rodriguez fumbled a snap on his own 26, and South Jefferson recovered, with enough time for Chartrand to boot a 19-yard field goal before the break.
So even though Oneida only trailed 20-14, it felt like much more. Consquently, the Indians could not get much moving in the last two quarters as Chartrand and the Spartans controlled the ball through an effective ground game.
It was Chartrand's 46-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that clinched it - and unlike the Solvay or Homer games that preceded it, there would be no Oneida comeback.
Instead, the Indians (2-1) come home this Friday to face Phoenix.