Even before the Labor Day weekend, three local boys soccer teams began their work in the OHSL Freedom division - two of them against each other.
Jamesville-DeWitt dismissed Christian Brothers Academy 2-0 on Friday afternoon while, up the road, East Syracuse-Minoa defended its home turf by edging Fulton 1-0.
A large cast returns this season for the Red Rams, giving it reason to think it can contend for league and Section III Class A honors. CBA's task was made a lot harder by seeing one of its top players, Emmanuel Collins, switch from football to soccer.
So perhaps it wasn't surprising that CBA's attack spent most of the game ineffective in the face of J-D's strong back line. Zack Tanner, the Red Rams' goalie, only had to make one save.
Neither side was generating much momentum, though, until the 24th minute, when Eric Nuss hit a long cross from the left side that CBA goalie David Anderson mishandled, allowing Andrew Lee to poke the ball just past the goal line.
Gradually, J-D picked up its pressure, getting all kinds of chances early in the second half to add to its 1-0 margin. Finally, in the 52nd minute, Noel Williams drew the ball near the net and, with Anderson out of position, Anthony Epifani converted the clincher.
As the Rams took out CBA, ESM, with its own recent history of success on the soccer field, got a crucial league win over Fulton.
Neither the Spartans nor Red Raiders could convert in the first half, and a good portion of the second half went scoreless, too, as the opposing defenses had full control.
But in the 65th minute, ESM's Mike Sacco got free and passed it to Jeff Koch, whose shot eluded Fulton goalie Joe Sutton. For the day, Sutton had 10 saves, four more than Spartan counterpart Casey Sullivan.