Bears blank Homer, take charge in B West

Defense, ground game excels in 42-0 romp

— Jack Hayes summed it up pretty well when he addressed his Chittenango football team moments after it finished off a 42-0 shutout of Homer in Friday night's Class B West first-place showdown.

"You're a bunch of bad dudes", he said, summing up his thoughts - and the way the Bears handled the Trojans throughout the one-sided affair.

On offense, Chittenango, no. 3 in the latest state Class B rankings, mostly relying on its lethal running trio of Devin Phelps, Kyle Zimmer and Joe Gilona, racked up 35 first-half points, 29 of them in the second quarter alone.

Then the defense did the rest, smothering anything that Homer tried, from swing passes to runs up the middle, and never letting the Trojans get close to the Bears' goal line at any time.

"These guys know that it's a long road ahead, and it's starting to come together," said Hayes.

The skies cleared up just before kickoff after a hard rain fell during warm-ups. Another deluge, courtesy of Chittenango, was soon to follow.

It began quickly enough, the Bears needing just four plays to go 86 yards. A 33-yard pass to Steve Billington got it started, and Gilona went the final 24 yards for the touchdown to make it 6-0.

By far, the game's most important play came late in the first quarter. It was still 6-0, and Chittenango, on its own 22-yard line, faced a third-down-and-35, a play that is almost never converted.

Except in this case, it was. Phelps went back to pass, and finding single coverage over the middle, he threw deep. Josh Cretaro, using his sprinter's speed, caught the ball in mid-stride, and went 55 yards for the first down.

"Our receiver (Cretaro) got behind their secondary, and Devin threw a perfect ball," said Hayes.

Though that spectacular conversion only led to a Billington field goal, that set the stage for the onslaught that followed for the rest of the half.

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