SYRACUSE In so many different ways, the Baldwinsville football team's 10-7 victory over Henninger Friday night at Sunnycrest Field was instructive and encouraging, beyond the fact that the Bees improved to 2-0 on the season and added to its momentum heading into next weekend's big game at Fayetteville-Manlius.
Not only did B'ville show that it could win on the road, and persevere without big production from its high-octane running attack, it also showed that it has a proud, tough defense that, under pressure, can perform at an elite level.
In fact, after the Black Knights' first possession, the Bees' defense pitched a shutout, a marked contrast to its season opener seven days earlier, when it surrendered four touchdowns in a hard-fought 34-27 win over Cicero-North Syracuse.
Henninger, who shut out Liverpool 14-0 in its first game of the season, took a 7-0 lead on that opening drive, seeing Justin McGann fumble near the end zone, but end Brandon Wilbur recover for the touchdown.
And that would be all. B'ville's front seven, led by Collin Taylor and Jakeith Jackson, put on constant pressure, and when the Black Knights tried to throw the ball, that got stopped, too.
On the offensive side, the Bees pulled even early in the second quarter when, from his own 23, Gage Blasi threw a screen pass to Ricky Sparks, who turned around and, with great downfield blocking, went all the way, 77 yards for the score.
Tom Scarfino added the extra point. Then, when the Bees' drive stalled at Henninger's 15 just before halftime, Scarfino returned and drilled a 32-yard field goal through the uprights, never imagining that they would be the winning points of the night.
B'ville could not add to that three-point margin in a tense second half. Instead, it relied on the defense, especially when Henninger twice moved inside the Bees' 10-yard line with chances to take the lead.