All through the off-season, the Cazenovia football team had heard the talk about how much Camden wanted to earn payback for the 54-7 defeat it took last fall in the Section III Class B semifinals.
But when the two sides reunited for Friday night's 2013 curtain-raiser, the exact same thing happened as the Lakers put away the mistake-prone Blue Devils by a score of 33-7.
Any hopes that Camden possessed got swept away due to its complete inability to hang on to the ball. Seven times, the Lakers forced turnovers, and it only figured that Kevin Hopsicker, best known for his quarterback duties, turned into a bigger factor on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
True, Hopsicker ran for 60 yards and a touchdown and threw for 85 yards and another score. But it was his three interceptions in the Cazenovia backfield that helped make sure the Blue Devils were never going to get close.
Throughout a scoreless first quarter, the Lakers found itself struggling to get any sort of production. But the defense was in mid-season form, as evidenced by a fourth-down stop inside its own 25-yard line that denied Camden a chance to gain a crucial early edge.
For its part, the Blue Devils thought it was going to get a crucial boost when it stopped Cazenovia inside its own five-yard line early in the second quarter. But two plays later, Camden botched a handoff, and before it could react, the ball was loose in the end zone and Billy Ranking was falling on it for a touchdown.
Camden's next possession ended in a fumble, too, from Joe Muller, as it was forced and recovered by Ryman Seeley at his own 36. The Lakers set off on another drive, mixing Hopsicker runs with passes to Noah King (one covered 19 yards) before Andrew Vogl scored from three yards out.