Perhaps for a brief moment, followers of the Baldwinsville football team were concerned that a trip to Holland Stadium, and a meeting with Auburn, could prove troublesome.
But that moment soon passed, and the Bees, getting solid all-around play, beat the Maroons 35-15 on Friday night to improve to 4-1 on the season, 2-1 in the Class AA-2 division.
Not only was Auburn playing at home, it carried a 2-2 mark and was 1-1 in league play, and was coming off a 22-21 overtime victory at Utica Proctor on Sept. 27.
The Maroons knew that a victory would vastly improve its post-season chances, and B'ville was determined not to let that happen while, at the same time, helping its own cause when it comes to eventually hosting a Section III playoff game.
B'ville did strike first, using its ground game to move the ball to Auburn's two-yard line in the first quarter before quarterback Gage Blasi found the end zone.
Briefly, the Maroons provided an answer, Justin Valentino finding his brother, Trent, on a 32-yard touchdown pass that, with Dan Netti's extra point, tied it 7-7 before the period was done.
With its offensive line blowing open big holes for the backs to run through, the Bees took advantage of Auburn's concern about tailback Ricky Sparks. Early in the second period, working from the Maroons' 24, Blasi gave it to fullback Cole Burchill, who exploded through another gap and found the end zone, putting B'ville up for good.
Then the Bees' defense stepped up, as Cameron Skipworth recorded his Section III-best sixth interception of the season, setting up another scoring drive as Skipworth went the final eight yards himself, the touchdown extending B'ville's margin to 21-7 with 3:51 left in the half.
And there it stayed until the third quarter, when the Bees mixed up its offense a bit. Sparks notched his only TD of the night on a 10-yard run that made it 28-7, and after Kevin Paul's interception, Blasi went to the air and found Skipworth from 29 yards out for another score. Tom Scarfino made all five of his extra-point attempts.
This brings B'ville back to Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium for what promises to be an intense contest next Friday against neighbor and rival Liverpool (3-2), which kicks off at 6:30.
The Warriors, who beat Utica Proctor 41-7 last Friday, are also 2-1 in AA-2 division play, and since both teams already have losses to first-place Fayetteville-Manlius, the winner here is nearly certain to be at home for the opening sectional round.