If it wanted a reasonable shot at the Class B West regular-season crown again, the Chittenango football team needed a road victory at Homer.
But when the Bears went after it Friday night, it could not sustain its strong play for four quarters as the Trojans came from behind, took over in the second half and prevailed 28-14.
Even though Chittenango had won the last two league crowns, it was Homer in the favorite’s role since it had started 2-0, including handing Skaneateles its first regular-season defeat since 2010, and had the no. 8 spot in the first state Class B rankings of the ball.
That challenge seemed to fire up the Bears, who played a strong first quarter on both ends. The defense contained Homer’s vaunted ground game, and Chittenango put together a scoring drive as, from the Trojans’ 25, Matt Cretaro found his brother, Josh Cretaro, on a deep pass for the game’s first touchdown.
Homer appeared to make things more hospitable when, in the second quarter, Corey Benn picked off an errant pass near midfield and sped 45 yards to the other end zone. Combined with Matt Milliman’s extra point, it left the Bears with a 14-0 lead.
Still, the Trojans did not panic, and thanks to Alec Bush, had turned the game around by halftime. Bush first burned the Bears by speeding 57 yards to the end zone for a touchdown, and when he broke loose on a 28-yard scoring dash, that, plus Joel Christopher’s pair of PAT’s, had tied it, 14-14, going into the break.
Bush, who finished with 220 yards on 22 carries, had reenergized the entire Homer squad, and that manifested itself during the second half. Anything Chittenango tried to establish got stuffed, and the Bears could only watch as Homer started to dominate the line of scrimmage and break off more big gains.
It was Gage Root scoring on a 31-yard run that gave the Trojans a 21-14 lead, and to prevent any Chittenango rally, Jake Casey, from his own 26, found a big hole and took off 74 yards to the end zone for the clinching score in the fourth quarter.
This Friday night at 7 p.m., Chittenango goes on the road once more, this time heading east to take on Central Valley Academy, the newly combined Ilion/Mohawk district, who is also 1-2 following a 35-26 defeat to Camden.