(photo by Lisa Liddell)
Homecoming festivities at Cazenovia High School include many traditions, and one of them involves the football team making quick work of a visiting opponent.
So it was again on Saturday afternoon at Buckley-Volo Field as the undefeated, state no. 7-ranked Lakers moved to 4-0, strengthening its grip on first first place in the Class B East division by handling Oneida 42-8.
A closer examination of the game shows that some things are changing with the Lakers program, both in the visual presentation and the way people can follow the action.
When fans walk up to the bleachers at Buckley-Volo, they’re greeted by blue and white flags at the top of the stands that depict Cazenovia’s series of Section III titles and the state championship it won in 2015.
And if they can’t make it to the game, Cazenovia football’s Facebook page offers a live stream, which has attracted more than 100 viewers since it started earlier this season.
What has not changed, though, is the Lakers’ winning formula – take charge early, keep adding to the lead, and protect it with a stifling defense, all of which led to a seventh consecutive victory over Oneida.
On Cazenovia’s first possession, large chunks of yards were taken by Matt Regan and Jake Macheda, with Macheda going the final four yards for a touchdown.
Then the Lakers opened its playbook on fourth down from the Indians’ 19 late in the first quarter. Taking a toss, Macheda ran right, then threw to the end zone, where Kevin Stalder hauled it in to make it 14-0.
Regan found Stalder again on a 19-yard scoring pass early in the second period, and would convert twice more when taking advantage of Oneida’s blitzes with well-timed screen passes.
With 6:18 left in the half, Regan drew in the blitz, then threw short to Matt McLaughlin, who went 16 yards for the TD. Later, in the third quarter, Regan faced a similar play at the Indians’ 36 and this time threw the screen to Macheda, who rode a convoy of blocks to the end zone.
That extended Cazenovia’s lead to 34-0, and it was protected well. From Dan Kent, Dan Hammond, Jon Laub, Shawn Szlamczynski and Evan Duskee on the front line to Macheda, Stalder, Evan Lambert and Joey Reidl at linebacker, with McLaughlin, Tony Heaney, Drew Johnson and Patrick Nourse in hre all were sharp, and Oneida’s only TD came after reserves came in for the fourth quarter.
Szlamczynski led with eight tackles, four of them solo, while McLaughlin had six tackles. Hammond had five tackles. Overall, Cazenovia ran for 259 yards as Macheda picked up 122 yards on 22 carries, with Regan adding 76 yards on 13 carries to go with completing seven of 14 passes for 131 yards.
Joey Gates added a one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter as the Lakers got ready for another short week and a Friday-night trip to New Hartford. The Spartans, new to the Class B ranks this fall, lost its first three games before topping Utica-Notre Dame 21-7.