Controversies behind them, the Baldwinsville football team had two more chances to work on its strengths and weaknesses before the post-season pursuit of a third straight Section III Class AA title.
In the first of these outings, the Bees went east on Friday night and added to the troubles of a one-time power, setting a season mark for points and getting six first-half touchdowns from Tyler Rouse in a 61-20 victory over Rome Free Academy.
To be sure, some bitter taste remained from the previous week's epochal 39-38 defeat to West Genesee, chief among them the fact that the Wildcats got an inadvertent fifth down during its last-minute scoring drive.
On the other hand, B'ville had shown that it could put up lots of points in a hurry, having erased a 21-0 deficit against WG, and that productive capability carried over, in a big way, a week later at RFA Stadium against a Black Knights squad far removed from the championship years of the 1980s and '90s.
This time, it was the Bees bolting out to a 21-0 lead, all in the first quarter, and all from Rouse. He scored on a 30-yard run, used a 51-yard TD run to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season and capped off his opening-period rampage with a 60-yard dash to the end zone.
Of course, it didn't stop there, as Rouse tacked on three more touchdowns in the second period, on runs of 25, 43 and 22 yards.
It appears that the Bees' offensive line, anchored by senior Joe Tanguay and also featuring Scott Orr, Luke Earle, David Sawatzke and Mo Bouvia, is starting to assert itself in the same complete manner that the 2009-10 lines did.
At halftime, B'ville led 41-7, and Rouse had done more than enough. On 17 carries, he amassed 289 yards, and even when he rested for much of the second half, Ben Paprocki maintained the production. Paprocki had 10 carries for 127 yards, racing 49 yards for one score and diving one yard for another.
With that win, the Bees clinched a first-round Class AA home playoff game. So it will spend the next two weeks at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, first meeting Cicero-North Syracuse (1-5) in Friday's regular-season finale at 6:30.