They celebrated Homecoming this weekend at Cazenovia High School, and the football Lakers did its part to make the festivities even more festive.
In the renewal of a once-dormant neighborhood rivalry, the Lakers ripped Chittenango, 48-7, Saturday at Buckley-Volo Field and, in the process, clinched the Class B East division regular-season championship.
Cazenovia, undefeated (6-0) and no. 5 in the state Class B rankings, had just gone through two weeks of heavy drama, from the 51-45, double-overtime epic with Vernon-Verona-Sherrill on Sept. 25 to the fourth-quarter comeback needed to beat Oneida 18-8 six days later.
Thus, the Lakers were eager to put someone away - especially the Bears, who entered this game at 2-1 in league play and still had a shot at the B East title with a win here.
But on the game's third play, Chittenango botched a handoff, the ball fell to the turf and Cazenovia's Tom Toole recovered. Less than three minutes later, John Greacen made a nifty spin move and scored on a nine-yard run. Nick Christakos added the extra point and the Lakers led, 7-0.
Just before the period ended, Jose Wells picked off Devin Christopher's pass. The second Bears' turnover turned into the second Lakers TD as, early in the second quarter, Jeff Hopsicker rolled out and found Doyle Judge in the end zone on a 19-yard scoring strike.
Judge, who had sat out the Oneida game with a concussion, made a clear impact with his mere presence on the field. With 6:34 left in the half, Hopsicker, on the Bears' nine-yard line, faked to his right, freezing the defensive back - and leaving Doyle wide-open for an easy touchdown that made it 20-0.
Trying to get back in it, Chittenango did not get helped when Christopher's 52-yard TD pass to Brendan Galek got called back due to a holding penalty. Minutes later, it was 27-0, Hopsicker using long completions to Judge and Wells to set up his own five-yard TD run.