SYRACUSE A 12-year wait for the Chittenango football team to climb to the top of the Section III ranks is over.
The Bears gained the Class B championship Saturday in the Carrier Dome, defeating Oneida 35-14, making it two straight years that the Indians lost in the title game.
It was ironic that, for its first sectional title game since 1999, the Bears had to face Oneida - the same team is beat in that long-ago Class A final by a 32-26 margin. Neither team would get close to that point total here.
Chittenango won the early battle of field position, twice moving into Oneida territory in the first quarter. It worked the second time around when, from the Indians' 36, Devin Phelps threw deep and found Devin Christopher, who sailed into the end zone. Steve Billington's extra point put the Bears up 7-0.
A 43-yard screen pass from Phelps to Joe Gilona got Chittenango back in scoring position. On the first play of the second period, Phelps, on fourth-and-one from Oneida's 11, found Gilona, who raced his way to the corner of the end zone, and the Bears had a 13-0 edge.
The blocking of linemen Nathan Fox, Jon Guignard, Aaron Jones, Nick Myers and Zach Graham, plus Billington at tight end, sprung Gilona, Phelps and Kyle Zimmer for big chunks of yardage on the Bears' next possession. Gilona went the final five yards for the TD, and Zimmer's two-point run expanded the margin to 21-0.
Breaking up the shutout, Oneida drove to the Bears' 10 as the half wound down. Due to a Gilona sack and penalty, the Indians were back on the 35-yard line before Tyler Mallinder found Jimmy Moyer on a 34-yard pass, putting the Indians on the one.
On fourth-and-goal, Mallinder sneaked in for the TD, just eight seconds before the break, and he found Justin Klossner on a two-point pass.