Rarely, if ever, have the East Syracuse-Minoa and Jamesville-DeWitt football teams met with as much on the line as they will next weekend on the Red Rams' home turf.
The Spartans and Red Rams are tied for first place in the Class A American division, and both are coming off wins Friday night against National division opponents, ESM having bashed New Hartford 56-6 and J-D having rallied to beat Carthage 28-20.
In ESM's case, it mattered little that their fellow Spartans from New Hartford were reeling at 0-4. Every single player on the ESM side remembered the numerous times New Hartford had tamed them in years past, including several playoff encounters.
So from the start, ESM had a lot of payback in mind, and it commenced with Jeff McDuffie taking off on a 75-yard sprint to the end zone early in the first quarter. Before the period was done, it was 14-0, Tyler Johnson having gone deep to find Bobby Campese on a 53-yard touchdown pass.
Johnson would add two more TD passes in the second quarter, both of them going to Mike Gorney. One was a nine-yard completion, and the other was a 50-yard strike. In between, Johnson hit Buddy Frigon for two points, so it was 29-0 going into halftime.
To start the second half, McDuffie, who had 112 yards on six carries, returned New Hartford's kickoff 76 yards for six more points. Then Johnson threw his fourth and fifth TD passes of the night, going 35 yards to Frigon and eight yards to Campese to build the margin to 50-0. Jose Sanchez added a 31-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Not far away, J-D, who had taken away increased confidence from the scare it put into Whitesboro in a 48-34 defeat a week earlier, had to come from behind to beat Carthage, who entered the game with a 1-3 record.