Lakers shake off bad start, rout South Jefferson

Caz improves to 6-0; Chittenango falls to Cortland

All of this, plus a trio of Keaton Ackermann extra points, gave Cazenovia a 33-14 halftime lead, and Ackermann added a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter before Hopsicker offered his biggest play of the night, a 77-yard scoring pass to Ryman Seeley.

Phillips earned his third TD in the fourth quarter, with Pete DeCew also finding the end zone for the first time on a one-yard run.

While all this was going on, Chittenango fully expected to have the same kind of success against Cortland, but instead found itself in a tense duel from the start.

Both teams had early problems hanging on to the ball, with four fumbles in a five-play sequence, but another turnover put the Purple Tigers up 7-0 when Zach Whelan picked off a Josh Cretaro pass and brought it back 48 yards for the TD.

Going back to the ground game, the Bears used two long runs by Cory Benn to set up Benn's six-yard scoring run, which tied it 7-7. When Whelan found the end zone on a 23-yard run in the second period, Chittenango again answered, Cretaro going 10 yards to Kyle Mills for the TD.

Matt Milliman saw a field-goal attempt blocked just before halftime, which kept it 13-13 at the break, but he did connect on a 23-yard kick for the only points of the third quarter to put Chittenango back in front.

But that 16-13 lead didn't last, either. Cortland quarterback Anthony Ricotilli's long pass to Connor Caughey led to Whelan's third TD, a five-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

As time wound down, the Bears moved the ball to the Purple Tigers' nine-yard line, only to see Cortland's defense stiffen. When a fourth-down pass from Matt Cretaro to Josh Cretaro fell incomplete, and the host's last chance was gone.

This left the Bears at 2-3 in the Class B West division and in fifth place, needing to beat Solvay next Friday to have any shot at reaching the playoffs as Cazenovia's regular season concludes next Saturday at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.

Cazenovia's regular season concludes next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, who has a 5-1 record and 4-1 league mark. Should the Red Devils prevail, it would create a three-way tie for the league title between Cazenovia, VVS and Oneida, so the Lakers need to win to secure the outright crown, a top seed and guaranteed first-round home playoff game.

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