Baldwinsville Ricky Sparks took the hand-off, found a seam and then sped off on a 67-yard dash to the goal line. With that single play, Baldwinsville's football team - or at least the version of it that fans across Central New York are familiar with - was back in its familiar winning element.
Not that Rome Free Academy made it easy for the Bees in Friday night's Homecoming game at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, leading at one point in the second quarter before B'ville wore down the Black Knights and pulled away to a 44-25 victory, improving to 3-1 on the season.
And Sparks was at the center of it all. The speedy senior tailback carried the ball 41 times, picking up 352 yards and scoring four touchdowns behind a dominant offensive line that, like the rest of the Bees, was looking for a return to normalcy.
A week earlier, forced to play catch-up after falling behind 14-0 at Fayetteville-Manlius, B'ville completely changed its character and threw the ball at will, Gage Blasi accumulating 355 yards through the air, though it all went for naught as the Bees lost 49-37.
This time around, Blasi had no need to use his right arm so much, passing it just nine times, completing five of those passes for 95 yards. Sparks, and the big men on the line, would do the rest.
RFA responded nicely to Sparks' initial TD burst, tying it, 7-7, on Bradley Daugherty's five-yard scoring run late in the first quarter. Then, after Tom Scarfino converted on a 29-yard field goal, the Black Knights pulled in front when it drove to B'ville's 14-yard line, from where Angus Evans found James Redpass for the go-ahead TD.
Trailing 14-10, the Bees didn't stay behind for long. It quickly moved to RFA's 15, from where Sparks notched his second TD, giving B'ville the lead for good.