As it plunged into the heart of its schedule, the Cicero-North Syracuse football team did so with the confidence only gained from wins on the gridiron.
A week after the turnaround at Utica Proctor, the Northstars aced its next assignment at Central Square on Friday night, gaining 450 yards of total offense as it ripped the Red Hawks 48-20.
This marked the kickoff of Class AA-1 division play, where the Northstars would deal with the league's weakest unit before dealing with the strong ones.
CNS had to salivate at the chance of facing a Central Square defense that had surrendered 73 points (and seven Ismail Brooks touchdowns) to Auburn the week before.
And while the Northstars did not get near the Maroons' gaudy total, it did not have to, either.
Blake Monday established the theme early in the first quarter, sprinting 40 yards for a touchdown, then adding a two-yard scoring run later in the period.
In between, Mike Joyce threw a 29-yard TD pass to Joey Battaglia, and when Joyce found Joe Williams on a 36-yard scoring strike early in the second period to make it 14-12, CNS partisans had a bit of concern.
But a veteran hand like quarterback Ryan Haney did not get worried. Instead, he led CNS on a pair of scoring drives and threw two TD passes - 12 yards to Austin Hyde, then 36 yards to Matt Logudice - that made it 28-12 going to the break.
Through a wild third quarter, the Northstars got away. Monday, who finished with 144 yards on just 12 carries, took off on a 38-yard TD run to begin a 20-point spurt that included Lacey throwing a third TD pass (26 yards, to Jaiqwan Jones) and Anthony Siorini going three yards to Corey Barnes for the final score.