Cazenovia Through the first month of the 2013 season, the Cazenovia football team produced another perfect 4-0 mark, even though the vaunted defense that had marked so many Lakers championship teams of the past had faced some real struggles.
From surrendering 267 yards on the ground to Central Valley Academy in the first half on Sept. 14 to giving up 28 first-half points to Marcellus five days later, Cazenovia had not yet hit on the precise formula for stopping the opposition.
Fast-forward to Saturday's Class B West division first-place showdown with Oneida, though, and it was a far different Laker defensive unit that greeted the Indians on the muddy turf at Buckley-Volo Field, producing a shutout as Cazenovia, the state's no. 4-ranked Class B team, prevailed by a score of 26-0.
Head coach Tom Niedl was quite pleased with his defense's efforts, saying that the junior starters who struggled to grasp the concepts at the varsity level are now settling in and starting to flourish.
"These kids are growing up and playing very well as a team," said Neidl.
What made the effort more impressive was the fact that Oneida, no. 12 in last week's state Class B rankings, had scored a total of 160 points in its first four games, an average of 40 per contest.
Cazenovia, led by Jon Nannery on the front line, Carter Woodworth at the linebacker spot and Kevin Hopsicker in the secondary, gradually shut down the Indians' potent running attack with hard hits and all-out effort, eventually forcing four turnovers, three of them in the second half to prevent an Oneida rally.
Of those turnovers, none was more important than the first one, which took place early in the second quarter. Rain that fell just before kickoff, and lingered through the opening period, made for tough footing, yet the Lakers seized a 7-0 lead on its opening possession, Andrew Vogl breaking free for a 27-yard touchdown run and Keaton Ackermann adding the extra point.