When the Chittenango football team makes its way to Homer next Friday for a first-place Class B West showdown, it had hoped to do so sporting a four-game win streak and the confidence that goes with it.
Instead, the Bears go there humbled, thanks to Class C state no. 6-ranked Canastota, who made the short trek on Route 5 to Chittenango on Friday night and, led by quarterback Ben Marshall, breezed to a 38-6 victory to keep itself undefeated.
Even as it started 3-0 and rose to no. 13 in the state Class B poll, the Bears were observing the Raiders outscoring its first three opponents by a combined 151-25 margin. Up close, it would find out that those gaudy numbers were quite legitimate.
Twice in the first quarter, Marshall led Canastota on scoring drives. One of them ended with Marshall throwing a four-yard scoring pass to Chris Cafarella, while Marshall added a second touchdown on a two-yard plunge.
With a consistent, physical attack powered by a dominant front line, the Raiders kept pulling away from the Bears in the second period as Marshall broke free for a pair of long TD runs – one covering 20 yards, the other going 54 yards.
Trailing 27-0 at halftime, Chittenango did what it could in terms of its effort. Sam Hill produced 10 tackles and Brian Coe earned seven tackles, with Francis Cerio and Griffin Furco each getting five tackles.
However, Marshall proved unstoppable, getting a fourth TD run of 42 yards after throwing a 17-yard scoring pass to Cafarella. Not until the fourth quarter, when Cerio found the end zone from six yards out, did the Bears get points.
Griffen Smith led the hosts with 91 rushing yards on 12 carries, most of it thanks to a single 44-yard gain. All told, the Bears were held to 153 yards of total offense.
And now comes Chittenango’s trip to Homer. All the state Class B no. 4-ranked Trojans have done is smash its first four opponents by a total margin of 186-20, including shutouts of Cortland (59-0) and Westhill (40-0), so it will take a grand effort by the Bears to keep up with the Trojans.