Once it got over its own shaky start and asserted its will on both sides of the ball, the Chittenango football team took charge of the Class B West division race.
The Bears went to Homer Friday night and, in a clash of unbeaten teams, pulled away in the second half and topped the Trojans 32-14 to move to 3-0 on the season.
Joe Gilona continually hurt Homer in his two-way role. On offense, Gilona picked up 166 yards on 14 carries and also caught an 11-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to start the getaway.
Then, when Chittenango went to the defensive side, Gilona merely produced 13 unassisted tackles, spear-heading a unit that kept Homer off the board through much of the game's latter stages.
Great as the finish was, the Bears' start was equally unpleasant. It appeared Chittenango had thwarted a Homer scoring threat on the Trojans' opening possession when Brad Phelps recorded an interception, only to see him take a safety when he was tackled attempting to run out of the end zone.
The next time the Bears had the ball, a high snap was pounced on by Homer's Brandon Maxon, and his return set up a short drive and Austin Recor's four-yard TD run, which made it 8-0 going into the second quarter.
Fuming at those early errors, Chittenango began to settle down with a 64-yard, seven-play march that led to quarterback Devin Phelps running 10 yards for a score and also getting the two-point conversion to forge an 8-8 tie.
Now it was Homer's turn to hurt itself, as it fumbled a punt and committed a penalty that gave the Bears a short field. Kyle Zimmer took full advantage, his 16-yard TD run, combined with Steve Billington's extra point, putting Chittenango ahead 15-8 at the break.