A resilient defense prevented the Solvay football team from facing disaster Friday night on the Skaneateles Lakers' new artificial turf field.
Instead of a deep deficit, the Bearcats stayed within sight until a few well-timed big plays in the fourth quarter produced a 13-3 victory over the Lakers.
Even with a 1-2 mark, Solvay was supposed to have little trouble with a Skaneateles squad that had been outscored 129-46 in its first three games, all losses.
But as soon as the game kicked off, the Bearcats appeared determined to do whatever it took to give away a game it needed if it wanted to insure Class B playoff participation.
An interception, plus two fumbles, marked Solvay's early offensive frustration, a process accelerated by the loss of quarterback Brian Wright to a kidney bruise on the game's first series.
That, combined with a few ill-timed penalties, produced poor field position and a long-running zero on the scoreboard. By every right, Skaneateles, who moved the ball with much more efficiency, should have scored multiple times and pulled away.
Instead, all the Lakers got was Paul Hamilton's 19-yard field goal in the first quarter, achieved after a Solvay goal-line stand.
That set a tone for the next three periods. Five different times, Skaneateles drove inside Solvay's 20-yard line. Aside from the field goal, it didn't get a single point, as the Bearcats' defense made lots of big stops.
So it remained 3-0 until the fourth quarter when, finally, Solvay found something that worked on the offensive side.
From the Lakers' 48-yard line, Ryan Bidwell, who replaced Wright under center, threw deep - and Xander Nappi slipped behind the secondary to catch it for the game's first touchdown.
After yet another Solvay stop, the Bearcats returned to the Lakers' 48 - and struck another big play when Taylor Delperuto tore through a hole and didn't stop until he was in the Lakers' end zone. This put Delperuto past the 100-yard mark, as he finished with 136 yards.
Back at the .500 mark in both the Class B West division (1-1) and overall (2-2), the Bearcats visit Vernon Verona Sherrill this Saturday at 2 p.m. VVS started 3-0 before taking a 30-19 loss to Chittenango on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Skaneateles tries to end its drought Friday at Westhill, the Class B West leaders with a 4-0 mark. The Warriors are coming off a 28-14 win over Homer.