Cicero For a brief while, Cicero-North Syracuse's football team put aside all of the off-season drama and gave visiting Baldwinsville a scare in Friday night's season opener at Bragman Stadium.
But then reality - or more accurately, Tyler Rouse - set in before halftime, and the Bees went on to defeat the Northstars 34-7 in what proved to be a special night for B'ville head coach Carl Sanfilippo.
This was Sanfilippo's 168th career win. giving him one more than his father, Joe, who spent 38 years coaching at Jamestown and Salamanca, schools in southwestern New York. Joe Sanfilippo could not attend the game, but followed updates from his home throughout the evening.
In total contrast to the 27-0 shutout loss to CBA it took in the 2011 curtain-raiser, B'ville physically established itself up front, and Rouse took full advantage. Carrying the ball 31 times, Rouse finished with 262 yards, scoring all five of the Bees' touchdowns.
All the emotion belonged to C-NS in the early going, as it rallied around each other and interim head coach Jack McAndrew, who took over after a neck injury forced Steve Ellis to sit out this season.
It was the Northstars seizing a 7-0 lead in the first quarter as Avery Yarn scored from seven yards out and Steve Messure added the extra point.
That margin endured until the second quarter, but the Bees shook off its poor early play and zoomed to a 14-7 lead by halftime. Twice, B'ville moved the ball down the field, and twice Rouse finished off the drives with touchdowns, on runs of five and three yards.
But the real excitement came in the third quarter. Sprung by big blocks from linemen Luke Earle, David Sawatzke, Mo Bouvia, Marcel Penfield and Jacob Geer, Rouse broke through the line of scrimmage, and then used his sprinter's speed to find the end zone on 52 and 69-yard runs, stretching B'ville's lead to 27-7.