LOOKING TO THE SKY: Members of both the Cazenovia Laker and VVS Red Devil varsity football teams watch as a last-second field goal attempt by VVS’s Nash Robb sails through the air. Robb would miss the uprights, cementing Cazenovia’s 14-12 victory, Oct. 1.
Cold, wet and weary, the Cazenovia football team could do nothing more, except watch.
Late Saturday afternoon, the Lakers clung to a slim lead at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, but as time ran low in regulation the Red Devils were lining up for Nash Robb's 26-yard field-goal attempt.
If Robb missed it, the Lakers, no. 4 in the state Class B rankings, would stay undefeated and clinch a second straight B East regular-season title. If Robb was successful, though, VVS would grab a tie for first place and hold a championship tie-breaker, too.
As fans from both sides looked on, the Red Devils snapped, and Robb let his first field-goal attempt of the season fly. It had some distance, but not the correct path, drifting wide right with just 20 seconds to play.
And so Cazenovia had escaped with a 14-12 victory, which proved a far cry from any of the Lakers' previous B West outings this fall. Instead of fading away when down 14-0, VVS stormed back and made everyone in Laker blue and gold nervous until the final ticks.
Then again, it was only fitting that Cazenovia and VVS play a thriller, for they had done the same one year ago at Buckley-Volo Field, the Lakers escaping 50-44 in a double-overtime epic.
Of course, with the soggy, slippery field for this latest encounter, neither the Lakers nor Red Devils were getting anywhere near 50 points. And for a long while, it looked like a pair of touchdowns would prove plenty for Cazenovia to get through.
It was ugly at the start, VVS nearly fumbling the ball three times on its first possession before getting Dakota Jenson to intercept Tanner Whiteman's pass on Cazenovia's first attempt.
Then the Lakers' defense, so strong throughout the season, caused Red Devils quarterback Eli Cleveland to fumble, and Darian Smith returned it 27 yards for a touchdown, putting Cazenovia ahead 7-0.