The Cazenovia varsity football offensive line prepares for an upcoming play. The Lakers defeated the Camden Blue Devils 54-7 on Oct. 26.
Photo by Pierce Smith.
Phelps, displaying his defensive prowess, gained an interception on Oneida's first possession of the second half, and quickly drove the Bears seven plays to seven more points, Zimmer getting his second TD on a 15-yard run.
Just like in the 2011 semifinal, Oneida refused to go away. Later in that third period, after Phelps nearly got a second interception, Rory McCarthy converted a fourth-down pass to Dylan Cafalone, setting up an Indians drive that Cafalone capped off with a one-yard scoring plunge.
From there, Chittenango's defense tightened again, and late in the fourth quarter it looked like the Bears would put it away with an 18-play march that covered 68 yards, only to have Oneida stop it at the two-yard line, preventing a clinching score.
Instead, Cafalone stunned Chittenango by breaking several tackles on an 88-yard sprint to the other end zone with 3:24 left. Combined with Cody Peck's two-point pass to Drew Mallinder, that cut the Bears' margin to six.
Then, pinned at its own seven-yard line after mishandling the kickoff, Chittenango needed to hang on to the ball. By a slim margin, the Bears converted a pair of crucial first downs, Connor Mills getting the last of them, and Oneida was, at last, put away.
Not long after that, Cazenovia took the field, with no intention of making it as interesting against a Camden side it throttled 33-7 late in September at Buckley-Volo Field.
Remembering that, as well as the semifinal loss it took a year later, the Lakers went out and dismantled the Blue Devils, aided by early Camden mistakes that really made things lopsided.
Already in front 7-0 after Jake Wilson scored on a 26-yard run on his team's second possession of the game, Cazenovia pounced on a punt that glanced off a Camden player's leg and, seconds later, Wilson was on his way to the end zone a second time on a 37-yard run.