Sep 15, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A double-digit lead going into the fourth quarter, a shutout, a superb performance on the defensive side – these were all things the Cazenovia football team had accomplished before against Oneida.
This time, though, the Lakers were not about to give it away.
Cazenovia’s 19-0 victory over the Indians Friday night was important on several levels, not the least of which was the fact that the Lakers took over sole possession of first place in the Class B East division.
For every veteran player, though, the satisfaction was made greater by what had taken place 10 1/2 months ago in the 2011 Section III Class B semifinal, when the then-undefeated Lakers blew a 10-point lead in the final five minutes and lost to the Indians 12-10.
No one in blue and gold wanted that to happen again. In particular, the Lakers’ defense felt responsibility for that semifinal defeat and had just given up 22 points in a loss to Jamesville-DeWitt the week before, so it was little surprise that the rematch would pivot around Cazenovia’s ability to keep Oneida stifled.
That’s exactly what took place, and fittingly it was the defense that produced the night’s first points. Cazenovia pinned Oneida deep in its own territory in the first quarter and, when the pass rush forced Rory McCarthy to throw too soon, linebacker Billy Bigsby picked off the pass and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown.
The Lakers needed nothing more, thanks to a defense that did not let up all night long. Nick Bobbett, in particular, was active, recording 17 tackles, while Ryan Cook chimed in with 11 tackles.
Jake Wilson was, again, the focal point of Cazenovia’s offense, and not just because he ran for 174 yards on 14 carries amid a constant rain.
When the Indians’ defense stacked the line of scrimmage in the second quarter, the Lakers tried a lateral that did not work, putting it back on Oneida’s 27.
Again, Oneida guessed that Cazenovia would run, but Wilson took a handoff from Alex Sullivan and suddenly threw downfield, where Cullen Franz caught the pass and ran in for the touchdown. That extended the Lakers’ lead to 13-0, where it stood at halftime.
And it stayed that way through the third quarter, too, the Indians unable to stop the Lakers’ steady ground attack, even when Cazenovia had poor field position.
Still, every Cazenovia and Oneida partisan remembered what had happened in the 2011 semifinal, so the tension remained in the fourth quarter – at least until the Lakers erased all suspense.
Wilson’s 19-yard run launched the clinching drive, as he and Andrew Vogl swapped carries until, with 4:49 to play, Vogl scored from five yards out. Even though the conversion was missed, the Lakers were out of Oneida’s reach.
Aside from Wilson’s solid running, Sullivan picked up 63 yards on 11 carries. Nick Bobbett
Cazenovia is back home at Buckley-Volo Field next Saturday to face Cortland in a non-league game. The Purple Tigers, who moved down from Class A this fall, are 2-1, having lost its opener to Homer before wins over Solvay and Westhill, the latter a 13-0 shutout on Friday.