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Lakers dethrone Bears as Class B football champs

Big runs by Wilson keys Caz victory in Dome

The players, coaches and support staff of the Cazenovia varsity football team gather with the Section III Class B title banner after defeating the Chittenango Bears 35-21 on Nov. 3 in the Carrier Dome.

The players, coaches and support staff of the Cazenovia varsity football team gather with the Section III Class B title banner after defeating the Chittenango Bears 35-21 on Nov. 3 in the Carrier Dome. Photo by Caz Sport Photography

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Quarterback Kevin Hopsicker gains yardage while evading Chittenango defenders during the Class B final on Nov. 3 in Syracuse University's Carrier Dome.

— Trailing 14-6, the Lakers needed to get going - and did, with a 61-yard drive set up by Ryan Cook's 30-yard kick return. Going no-huddle, Cazenovia started to get big chunks of yardage, and Cook returned to catch a short pass from Kevin Hopsicker and go 19 yards for the TD.

Hopsicker's two-point pass to Ryman Seeley tied it, 14-14. When the Bears fumbled near midfield in the last minute of the half and Cameron Braathen recovered, the Lakers had a chance to go back in front, but could not capitalize, so it remained 14-14 at the break.

When play resumed, Hopsicker ran 23 yards on the first play of the third quarter and went nine yards on fourth-and-six, moving the Lakers to the Chittenango two. A fumbled snap, though, cost Cazenovia 22 yards, and on fourth down Phelps intercepted Wilson's attempted halfback option pass.

Chittenango gave it right back when Andrew Vogl stripped Zimmer on a screen pass. That led to Wilson, on an option pitch, zig-zagging around Chittenango defenders and going 38 yards for the TD that put the Lakers in front 21-14.

Both teams missed on scoring opportunites late in the period, the Lakers stopped at the Bears' 15 in the waning seconds. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Phelps went 48 yards on a keeper, and Chittenango had another chance to catch up.

On fourth-and-eight at the Lakers' 33, Phelps went 10 yards and got the first down, leaping the final few yards to keep the drive going. A personal foul got Chittenango to the 13, threatening again to catch the Lakers.

Then, and only then, did it really get wild.

In the span of less than a minute, (1) Chad Warren intercepted Phelps on the goal line and returned it 25 yards, (2) Wilson went 75 yards for a TD, and (3) a long kick return by Josh Cretaro and 30-yard pass to Matt Cretaro set up Phelps to score from two yards out.

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