SKANEATELES — The reigning state Class C champions continued to roll in the first round of sectionals.
The Lakers pulled away in the middle two frames against the Bears, as the No. 1 Skaneateles football team routed No. 8 Chittenango, 51-28, in the Section III, Class B quarterfinals at Skaneateles High School Friday night.
Undefeated Skaneateles plays No. 4 Vernon-Verona-Sherrill in the semifinals. The time and location will be announced Sunday.
"The goal every week from here on out is to try and get another week. To try and prepare, be ready and get one more week. Then take it from there," Lakers coach Joe Sindoni said. "Every team is a different matchup. Some match up better, some teams match up worse, but you've got to do what you've got to do to get to the next one — win that game and get to the next one."
Skaneateles' Patrick Hackler threw for 247 yards and a touchdown, Areh Boni added 135 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and Nate Wellington had 96 yards receiving to go along with a touchdown reception.
The Lakers picked up a fumble less than a minute into the game and Boni scored from 26 yards out on the next play, but the Bears kept it close throughout the first quarter. Boni punched the ball in from the 1 midway through the frame, but Chittenango made it 13-7 at the end of the first 12 minutes.
The Bears cut the Lakers' lead to 13-12 with a 77-yard passing play 1:04 into the second quarter, but the Lakers scored three times on a 21 yard pass to Wellington, a 17-yard run by Nick Wamp and a 15-yard rush by Boni for a 34-12 advantage at halftime.
"One of their touchdowns we had two guys there on the pass and they ran into each other, their receiver caught it and ran in for the touchdown. Those things happen in football," Sindoni said. "We must've had over 100 penalty yards in the first half. Those things hurt us. We made a couple tweaks here and there — and they were changing their defense a little to try and stymie us — but our kids kept playing. I give them credit.
"Football is a momentum game. We righted the ship and gave it back to them."
Sindoni was hoping his team could cash in on one more possession before the break, but Wamp made up for it with a 75-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
"We came back, stuck together and made a couple of plays to get it going," Sindoni said. "Honestly, we were disappointed we screwed up the end of the second quarter there. We weren't happy with how we executed and I wasn't happy with how the play calls went. ... Then they kick it to Nick, and Nick takes it and that's hard to come back from at that point."
Hackler rushed 9 yards for a touchdown before the end of the third quarter, and Wamp recorded a 34-yard field goal a little more than three minutes into the final frame. The Bears scored with 6:27 remaining, but couldn't get any closer on the scoreboard.
For Sindoni, one of the keys for the Lakers is diversity on offense.
"We want to have balance," Sindoni said. "If the run is a better option, then we want to be able to run. There's situations where the pass is the better option, and I feel like the more balance we have the harder it is to do one thing to slow us down. Early on, we had the run and then later on they started committing more guys to the box so we were able to get more things over the top."