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Caz football comes back, tops Marcellus

Lakers erase 21-point deficit, moves to 3-0

Cazenovia defensive end Ryman Seeley (12), with help from Pat Karmis (54), pressures Marcellus quarterback Tom Keegan (2) as he throws the pass in Thursday night's game, where the Lakers erased a 21-point first-half deficit to beat the Mustangs 43-35.

Cazenovia defensive end Ryman Seeley (12), with help from Pat Karmis (54), pressures Marcellus quarterback Tom Keegan (2) as he throws the pass in Thursday night's game, where the Lakers erased a 21-point first-half deficit to beat the Mustangs 43-35. Frank Witkowski

— Resilience on offense, and tenacity on defense, helped the Cazenovia football team come from behind and beat Marcellus 43-35 Thursday night to remain undefeated in an early-season clash of state-ranked Class B title contenders.

At first, it looked like Marcellus was going to run away, as it scored four touchdowns in the first half and sped to a 28-7 lead. But the Mustangs peaked too soon, and over the game's middle stages, the Lakers fought its way back to within striking distance.

Then, after Kevin Hopsicker intercepted Mustang quarterback Ben Keegan with nine minutes left in the game, Cazenovia finally got a chance to take the lead.

Hopsicker, already enjoying a big night on the offensive end, threw a slant pass to Noah King, who collided with three Mustang defenders but continued to move his legs and spin his body until he scored with 8:30 to play. The Lakers would retain the lead for the rest of the game, eventually adding a late TD from Carter Woodworth to account for the final margin.

“It just took a lot of heart,” King said. “Marcellus is one great team, I’ll tell you that, but our motto’s been ‘bend don’t break,’ and luckily we were able to do that.”

Cazenovia head coach Tom Neidl agreed. “They believed in each other and they did it,” Neidl said. “It’s just everybody pulling together. They just played as a team, stuck together and preserved.”

Before that, though, the state Class B no. 4-ranked Lakers got overwhelmed as Marcellus (no. 18 in those same state rankings) got off to close to an ideal start.

Keegan threw three first-quarter TD passes -a nine-yard strike to tight end Mike Hastings, a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Cole Walsh and a 76-yard catch and run to wide receiver Will Coon.

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