Staying patient, and working its way through enough mistakes to sink any possible upset bid, the Chittenango football team put an end to Vernon Verona Sherill's dreams of an undefeated season.
Going into the Red Devils' own den on a windy and overcast Saturday afternoon, the Bears took charge long before the fourth quarter, but didn't take the lead for good until that last stanza on its way to a 30-19 victory.
With the win, Chittenango stated its case as a Class B East division championship contender, part of a four-way battle that might include VVS Oneida and South Jefferson before it's all over.
VVS had built a 3-0 start through a high-octane offense that had put together 140 points in those three wins.
To counter it, Chittenango resorted to a ball-control offense that would pile up yardage all afternoon. Kyle Mills carried the ball 35 times, for 149 yards, and quarterback Devin Christopher offered balance by going 15-for-23 for 219 yards, no mean feat in windy conditions.
But the game started with VVS showing every intention of keeping up that frantic pace that had worked so well throughout September.
In fact, on the game's third play, Tyler Mautner found Tyler Curtis on a deep route over the middle, and Curtis ran the rest of the way to the end zone for a 78-yard touchdown. That would be one of just four completions Mautner would make all afternoon on 16 attempts.
Quickly, the Bears answered, mixing up tough runs by Kyle Mills with a 19-yard pass from Tyler Christopher to Ben Mesmer. Dylan Furco ran the final 11 yards for the TD that tied the game 6-6.
The pattern was set - VVS would succeed with big plays, Chittenango with long, sustained marches.
After Zach Drake's 27-yard field goal put the Bears ahead 9-6, Dylan Guider took off on a 62-yard run, setting up Mautner's seven-yard TD pass to Curtis early in the second quarter.