Everything, it seemed, was working against the Christian Brothers Academy football team Friday night - the opponent, the location, the playing surface and the brutal conditions.
No way, the prevailing logic went, could the Brothers knock off Baldwinsville. Not at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. Not on a grass field churned into pudding by a day full of rain, with gusty winds blowing up to 25 miles per hour to add to the difficulty. And not against a Bees squad that was no. 3 in the state Class AA rankings, had knocked off its last 17 Section III foes and featured the most imposing ground game and offensive line in Central New York.
Yet when the game was done and the clock hit zero, it was the guys in white, purple, gold and brown (from all the mud) celebrating a 14-10 victory over B'ville and a Class AA-1 division regular-season championship - and it was the home team in red trudging off in disappointment.
Of all the titles claimed by CBA in head coach Joe Casamento's 11-year tenure (which has included 106 wins and a boatload of sectional championships, plus a state crown in 2004), this might be the most exceptional because it was so unexpected.
Other than senior quarterback Tyler Hamblin and a handful of other starters, the Brothers did not have a lot of experienced players on hand when the 2010 season got underway. And even when the wins started to pile up, points did not come at a rate comparable to other CBA teams of the past, and injuries, such as that to Cirro Nicoletti-Watson, lengthened the odds of success.
CBA adjusted, though, and by the time it came to B'ville, it had two totally dependable items - Hamblin running the offense, and a ferocious defense that could shut down any opponent, even one as imposing as the Bees.