All the ingredients of a letdown were in place for the Cazenovia football team as it traveled to Adams for Friday night's game at South Jefferson.
The Lakers were making a long road trip, with a short week of preparation, and were coming off the season's most important game, an impressive 26-0 shutout over Oneida on Oct. 5 with first place in the Class B East division on the line.
And in fact, Cazenovia, the state's no. 4-ranked Class B team, did trail South Jefferson at the end of the first quarter - but used a dominant second quarter to quiet any lingering concerns, and went on to cruise to a 56-20 victory over the Spartans.
As that went on, Chittenango, who appeared to have turned its season around with an impressive 49-21 win over Marcellus the week before, could not hold on to a fourth-quarter lead in a 20-16 defeat to Cortland that put the Bears' post-season hopes in jeopardy.
No such stress bothers Cazenovia, except the high expectations that continual on-field success, plus the knowledge that every opponent is geared up to knock off a defending Section III Class B champion, as South Jefferson was on this night.
After Andrew Vogl scored the game's first touchdown on a 43-yard run, the Spartans surprised the Lakers when Adam Hutchinson threw a 62-yard scoring pass to Dylan Beckstead. Minutes later, South Jefferson made it 14-6 when Beckstead tossed his second TD pass, 14 yards to Austin Robare.
By the end of the period, though, Cazenovia had started to wear South Jefferson's defense down. Vogl's second TD, on a 12-yard run, cut the Lakers' deficit to 14-12, but set the table for a run of 27 unanswered points to end the half.
Three times, the Lakers had the ball in the second period, and every time it scored a touchdown. Dan Phillips found the end zone twice, on runs of eight and 29 yards, and quarterack Kevin Hopsicker broke loose for a 34-yard scoring run.