Press & Sun-Bulletin game article #1 (Front page)-
All below photos by Thomas Labarbera - Binghamton Press &
Sun-Bulletin. For captions place your mouse over the
to football finals
Batty scores 10
points in game's final minutes
BY KEVIN STEVENS
Press & Sun-Bulletin
-- Chenango Forks High advanced to New York's Class B football
final for a third consecutive season with a 19-9 semifinal
victory Sunday over Erie County opponent Eden High.
Junior Tim Batty scored 10
points in the final six minutes of play at the University of
Rochester, helping Chenango Forks to a 12th consecutive victory
before a sizable and vocal cast of supporters.
The Blue Devils will take on
Rye High at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Carrier Dome on the campus of
Syracuse University, seeking the program's first state
"This is unbelievable,
awesome ... the best feeling in the world," said Matt
Faughnan, a sophomore lineman for the Blue Devils.
"We had a really great
game; words can't express how well we did today," said
Batty, Forks' quarterback and kicker, and the young man who
accounted for every offensive point his team scored on Sunday.
Batty supplied the go-ahead
touchdown on a 19-yard run with 5 minutes, 50 seconds remaining
in the final quarter, and his point-after kick made it a 16-9
lead. He added a 21-yard field goal with 1:22 remaining on a
freakishly warm and gorgeous afternoon.
"That group deserved to
win because they outplayed us, from the opening kickoff to the
end of the game," said Doug Beetow, coach of Eden High --
located 18 miles south of Buffalo. It was the Raiders' first
loss of the season.
Not lost on Chenango Forks'
players and coaches was the customary backing by a community
that continues to embrace its football team.
"Every game we play is a
home game; I mean that," Forks coach Kelsey Green said,
alluding to the many who made the trip from Broome County.
"Every time we go somewhere, we're the home team when it
comes to the crowd. This is a three-hour ride, and we had a lot
of people here today."
Press & Sun-Bulletin game article #2 (sports page)-
effort leads Blue Devils to third straight
BY KEVIN STEVENS
chance at state crown
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Find-a-Way Forks did it again.
On Sunday, a panacea cooked up
at halftime in the laboratory that was its Fauver Stadium
dressing room unlocked the secret to offensive success and
lifted Chenango Forks to a 19-9 victory over Eden and into a
third consecutive berth in the Class B state football final.
quarterback and playmaker Tim Batty rushed for 130 of his
team-high 150 yards and produced two field goals, a touchdown
and a PAT kick after halftime as the Blue Devils earned a
title-game start against Rye High at 10 a.m. Saturday in the
Syracuse Carrier Dome.
That the Blue Devils never did
trail in the contest at the University of Rochester was a
tribute to yet another stupendous defensive effort.
But that they pulled out their
12th victory in as many games this season was the doing of Batty
with substantial assistance from the presence of fullback Joe
Babcock and the brute force demonstrated by offensive linemates
Matt Faughnan, Adam Phoenix, Chris Pease, Alex Williams and Jon
At halftime, Forks had picked
up one first down, had been outgained by 143 yards to 40,
possessed the football for just over eight minutes to Eden's
15:47 -- yet held a 6-3 advantage on the strength of Zach
29-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:21 elapsed.
During the break, the Blue
Devils tinkered in hopes of finding a way to move the football
against the unbeaten Raiders.
"We just put together a
different scheme during halftime, how to block different things,
especially the mid-line," said Faughnan, a 268-pound
sophomore and two-way tackle. "It worked out, we were
getting big gains of it."
Specifically, Batty was the big
Excluding the final two plays
of the ballgame, on which he accepted the snap from center and
dropped to a knee, Batty carried the football eight times in the
second half. Five of those rushes gained 17 or more yards.
It was a 19-yard rush by Batty
-- on a play that repeatedly and inexplicably got the better of
Eden defenders -- with 5:50 to play in the game that put Forks
ahead to stay. Batty tacked on the PAT kick for a 16-9
It all seemed so elementary, a
garden-variety fake to the fullback/quarterback keeper on which
the Blue Devils made hay, again and again and again and again.
to say, fullback Babcock's reputation preceded him to Fauver
Without the threat of Babcock,
who'd rushed for triple-digit totals in seven games this season,
Eden might not have been forced to respect the space between the
And without the path-paving of
Messrs. Faughnan, Phoenix, Pease, Williams and Preston, Batty's
running room would not have been so gaping.
As it was, the combination --
coupled with Batty's uncanny game-breaking ability -- carried
the Blue Devils to a second half in which they gained 186 yards
and shifted the weight of Eden defenders to their heels.
"Joe's been our No. 1 guy
all year," Batty said. "We knew they'd been keying on
him so we'd just fake it to him and I'd take it around the end
and our line did the rest.
"We ran the same play a
bunch of times in a row, they didn't adjust, so we kept going
back to what was working."
On the drive for the go-ahead
touchdown, Batty rushed for 24 yards on that very play and,
after a 6-yard keep-'em-honest rush by Babcock, Batty did it
again for the 19-yard scoring run.
Then, 16-9 lead in hand and
facing a prolific offense led by tireless back Keien Williams,
Forks defenders forced Eden to turn over the ball on downs at at
the Raiders' 43-yard line with 4:45 remaining.
And it was back to the dive
fake/QB keeper -- for 17 yards, 7 yards and 20 yards, helping
Forks to fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line. From there, Batty
booted home a 21-yard field goal for the final points with 1:22
Of the second-half offensive
resurgence, Forks coach Kelsey Green said, "We talked about
just a few tweaks in the blocking. They have some physical kids
in that front eight. We watched them last week shut down a good
Bath team and we were concerned coming in that it could happen
to us, and it certainly did the first half.
"But we made a couple
modifications and we got smart. We said get the ball in Timmy's
and Joey Babcock's hands. Timmy made some great reads. He's just
a winner. Certain kids are very talented but this kid, when you
need it he just does it."
Eden coach Doug Beetow called
the play that so often stung his defense "just a simple
dive fake, the quarterback off to the side, and he did an
outstanding job doing that.
"That's a special kid
they've got there."
Forks, as it has done so
frequently this season, won the race to the scoreboard with a
defensive gem turned in by junior end Vredenburgh, the young man
whose last-minute TD reception saved the day in the quarterfinal
round against Syracuse Westhill.
With Eden facing third-and-8
from its 32-yard line on its opening possession, quarterback
Charlie Karstedt faded patiently back and lobbed a screen pass.
But there was Vredenburgh to pick it off and meander his way
through traffic into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
"Hey, he's going to catch
the ball from somebody," Green said. "If it isn't us,
sometimes it's the other team. The beauty of that was, he
finished it. If he gets tackled on the 30, maybe we go
four-and-out the way things were going."
Instead, Forks' defense made
the TD stand for a 6-3 halftime lead despite a 22-carry,
117-yard effort by 190-pound senior Williams. He finished with
216 yards on 44 carries, but his 3-yard rush for a
fourth-quarter score to make it 9-9 represented the lone TD for
a team that came in averaging 33.7 points per game.
"Just don't let up,"
Faughnan said of the approach to defending Williams. "Keep
running at him, keep hitting him and keep popping him.
Eventually, he'll go down and he'll stay down. He's a heck of a
Batty was chosen by a state
football committee as Forks' Most Valuable Offensive Player, and
linebacker Babcock -- second on the team to Faughnan with seven
tackles -- was selected as the Devils' Most Valuable Defensive
Another big-play defender for
Forks was junior cornerback Ben Farnham, who returned a
first-quarter interception from Forks' 20-yard line to Eden's
35, and who drew raves from Raiders coach Beetow upon
"No. 21 did a heck of a
job," Beetow said. "There's been no one in our league
who's been able to tackle Keien one-on-one. Yet this kid, who's
half his size, came in and just laid him down. That was very
All above photos by Thomas Labarbera - Binghamton Press &
Sun-Bulletin. For captions place your mouse over the
Buffalo News game
Rochester - Tim Batty drove the
Eden football team you-know-what Sunday afternoon.
helps Chenango Forks fly past Eden
By KEITH McSHEA
News Sports Reporter
Batty, a junior quarterback for
Chenango Forks, rushed for 150 yards and the game-winning
touchdown and kicked two field goals as the Blue Devils ended
Eden's dream of a state championship with a 19-9 decision in the
Class B state semifinals at the University of Rochester's Fauver
A crowd of about 2,000 watched
Eden move the ball well behind senior running back Keien
Williams (216 yards on 44 carries) and own a statistical edge in
most categories, but the Raiders failed to convert several long
drives into touchdowns, threw three interceptions against the
top-ranked Class B team in the state, and couldn't stop Batty.
"They outplayed us. Maybe
we were thinking a little too far ahead," said Eden coach
Doug Beetow. "I guess that happens when you get a group of
guys who see that goal right in front of them, and they wanted
to go to the Carrier Dome (for the state final) so bad, that
they might have overlooked this team a little bit. Chenango
Forks did an outstanding job."
Eden, which entered the game
ranked third in the state, finishes the best football season in
school history at 11-1.
"They just came out with
more intensity than us," said Williams, who earned Eden's
offensive MVP award while senior linebacker Craig Leibler (81/2
tackles) was the defensive MVP. "They came out ready to
play and we didn't and it showed."
Chenango Forks, a Section IV
school located about 10 miles north of Binghamton, reached its
third straight state championship game. The Blue Devils (12-0)
will take on Section I champion Rye (12-0) at 10 a.m. Saturday
in the Carrier Dome.
Particularly damaging to Eden
was a quarterback option play in which Batty faked a handoff but
kept the ball for a run up the middle. While Batty was only 2
for 8 passing for 16 yards, he used the option keeper play to
gain three critical first downs in the second half, each of
which led to scores. Two of those scores were Batty field goals
while the other was another option keeper run, a tiebreaking,
19-yard touchdown that gave Forks a 16-9 lead with 5:50 left.
"Timmy made some great
reads - he's just a winner," said Chenango Forks coach
Kelsey Green. "If Timmy has a crack, he knows what to do
with it. He's been doing that all year long for us, making the
With Williams leading the way,
Eden outgained Chenango Forks (229-210), had more first downs
(16-11) and possessed the ball more (27:31 to 20:29). After
Williams' 1-yard touchdown with 7:14 to play tied the game at
9-9, it appeared Eden was about to take control. But Pat
Beckett's kick went wide left, and Forks charged right back.
Batty used the keeper for a
24-yard gain to put Forks at the 25, and one play later he used
it on the 19-yard TD. He faked a handoff, ducked to the right
and sped into open space while Eden defenders tackled a running
back who didn't have the ball.
"We kept giving the ball
to Joe (Babcock - 21 carries for 59 yards), and they kept keying
on him so it freed me up and the line did the rest," said
Batty. "So we kept on running it."
Eden's attempt to tie the game
ended in four plays. On fourth-and-7 at the Eden 46, Williams
was caught behind the line of scrimmage by Jason Chier with 4:45
left. A 20-yard keeper by Batty helped set up his 21-yard field
goal that gave Forks its 10-point lead with 1:22 left.
A Batty keeper also went for 48
yards on the first play of the second half, which ended with
Batty's 23-yard field goal with 8:56 left in the third quarter.
Eden responded with a drive of its own with Williams carrying on
nine of 10 plays, but on fourth-and-4 at the 14, Williams was
dragged down by Forks junior Ben Farnham on a leg tackle.
Eden's next drive was another
long one that put the Raiders in another fourth-and-4 at the
Forks 14. This time, Williams took an option pitch left and
charged inside the 5. On the next play, Williams followed a
great Eden surge at the line and stretched the ball across the
goal line to tie the game.
Williams had 22 carries for 117
yards in a first half in which Eden outgained Forks, 143-40,
nearly doubled the time of possession (15:47-8:13), and allowed
the Blue Devils just one first down.
But Forks had a 6-3 lead due to
one mistake on the Raiders' first possession. On third-and-9 at
the Eden 34, Zach Vredenburgh made a one-handed interception of
senior Charlie Karstedt's screen pass. The 6-2, 187-pound
junior's receiver skills took over from there, dodging a few
tacklers on a 29-yard return for a touchdown.
Press & Sun-Bulletin preview article Sunday 11/23-
challenge: Stop Eden running back
rusher Williams poses threat to Blue Devils' title run
BY KEVIN STEVENS
Press & Sun-Bulletin
A weekend ago, Chenango Forks football defenders tangled with a
running back deemed by their head coach to be the premier player
at the position the Blue Devils had faced this season.
We found another one in a
hurry," said coach Kelsey Green, whose top-ranked Forks
squad will oppose third-ranked Eden High of Erie County in a
Class B state semifinal at 1 this afternoon at the University of
Rochester's Fauver Stadium.
Keien Williams, a 6-foot,
190-pound Eden High senior, rushed for a combined 506 yards and
scored nine touchdowns in the Raiders' two most recent games.
"He's got a lot of speed,
but he's a big kid, too," Green said. "He's 190 pounds
with a set of legs on him. He runs between the tackles without
any hesitation and if there's nothing there, he'll make
"By taking it to the other
guys, hopefully knocking them down before they knock him
down," Eden coach Doug Beetow said of Williams.
In last week's 34-8 rout of
Bath -- Forks' semifinal victim each of the last two seasons --
Williams rushed for 206 yards to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark for
the season. The first of his four TDs came on the final play of
a 15-play, 99-yard scoring drive on the game's opening
The previous week in the
Section 6 title game, Williams established Ralph Wilson Stadium
high school playoff records for rushing yardage (300), total
yardage (300), touchdowns (5) and points (30) in the Raiders'
48-33 victory over Southwestern High of Jamestown.
Too, his defensive
contributions have come from the end, tackle, linebacker and
defensive back positions.
Eden (11-0) has scored 109 more
points this season than Chenango Forks, but has allowed 13.2 per
game to the Devils' 7.5. In fact, all three of Forks postseason
opponents have failed to put an eighth point on the scoreboard
-- most recently, Syracuse Westhill, despite a 196-yard rushing
game by Joe Casey.
Green and his scouting
companions watched Eden play a base 5-3 defense against
Southwestern, with Williams at nose tackle. Linebacker Craig
Liebler was named defensive player of the game with 14 tackles,
and fellow 'backer Kevin Gellerson made eight tackles upon
return to the lineup following a game away with a thigh injury.
(Williams) the whole time. We hope we won't have to," Green
said. "They've got a lot of speed on the defense. They'll
kick back into a 4-3 and make (Williams) a linebacker. And their
pass coverage was great."
Forks' ordinarily run-oriented
offense produced just its third triple-digit passing output of
the season against Westhill. Eden scouts came away from that
game particularly impressed with a Tim Batty-to-Zach Vredenburgh
connection that accounted for all but 14 of those yards.
Fullback Joe Babcock has topped
130 rushing yards in each of the last two games, though by the
end of the Westhill game was said to be running on fumes as
result of his 22-carry load coupled with full-time duty at
For the Eden game, the Blue
Devils will regain the services of Tyler Spencer, a 212-pound
sophomore who'd been ticketed for occasional fullback detail --
as well as a steady diet of defensive-line play -- until
sustaining a broken collarbone in the second game of the season.
Spencer was cleared to resume full-contact drills on Monday.
Press & Sun-Bulletin preview article Saturday 11/22-
Should have seen Forks' success
Know this about
Chenango Forks' football program:
At just about noon on the first
of December, 2002, a starting lineup devoid of underclassmen
commenced pad-banging against a cast from Harrison High with New
York's Class B football championship at stake.
That day's outcome in the
Carrier Dome, a 22-21 victory for the lads from Westchester
County, turned on a last-play field goal that undid all that
went Forks' way -- a 19-9 advantage in first downs,
more-than-double time of possession, etc., etc.
Fast-forward to the present, to
Forks' perfect record, its No. 1 state ranking, and yet another
quest to secure the state title that eluded the program each of
the last two seasons.
Step 12 comes Sunday, a 1 p.m.
kickoff at the University of Rochester's Fauver Stadium that
will set in motion a semifinal contest against Eden High, an
Erie County school located 18 miles south of Buffalo that has
matched Forks win-for-win.
This was not to be THE YEAR for
Forks. No, 2002 was to be THE YEAR, and nearly was, but for the
30-yard field goal off the shoe of Harrison's Peter Kohlasch,
which split the Dome's uprights and skewered a second
consecutive 12-0 Forks season.
Wasn't this supposed to be the
season Forks was tugged back to the pack? Shouldn't the Blue
Devils, with just three regular contributors per side of the
scrimmage line returning, have dipped a little?
Some of us chuckled when the
initial state rankings fit Forks in at No. 3 -- no more than a
tribute to the 2002 and 2001 squads' collective success, we
believed. And when the Devils were elevated to the top spot, the
ranking still seemed to some out of touch with reality.
Some of us hadn't taken into
account the fact teams come and go, programs sustain excellence.
I asked Kelsey Green, head
coach of a program that has won 35 of 37 contests over the last
three seasons: Has his staff allowed itself the opportunity to
step back and utter a collective, "We've coached our
buttocks off this year?"
His matter-of-fact reply:
"I know what we've said to each other is, 'We're having a
heck of a lot of fun this year.'
"It's the unknown and the
excitement of that and watching the kids get better and grow and
believe in themselves ... It's been a whole lot of fun."
For Green and the rest of
Forks' knowledgeable and devoted brain trust, it is, has been
and will continue to be about the teenagers in uniform. It is
not that way on all sidelines or benches or dugouts or mats and
At Forks, it is about Joe
Babcock, who has so effectively manned the critical fullback and
linebacker positions; and about Tim Batty, quarterback, safety,
punter, kicker, sometimes game-breaker; and Chris Pease,
dependable two-way lineman; and the rest with numbered jerseys
who have, to date, refused to let the program regress one
Unlike in 2002, when the
regular season was a relative formality preceding the
state-playoff berth that anyone who knows a counter play from a
counter top knew was coming, there have been real tests this
Through each, Forks has passed
There was the season opener,
when Elmira Free Academy's reigning Class A champions paid a
visit and boarded the bus afterward having absorbed a 19-0 loss.
And Game 2, when Norwich came and went and the Devils' goal line
remained uncrossed. And Game 6 at Elmira Notre Dame, when the
Devils grew seemingly stronger on their way to 28-21 survival.
Section 4's playoffs started
with a 13-7 victory over Whitney Point, continued on to a
stunningly simple 35-7 crunching of Norwich, and then it was on
to last weekend's state quarterfinal matchup with Westhill High
Frankly, Westhill may have been
the superior squad last Saturday morning in the Dome.
However, with under
half-a-minute remaining and with winter-sports season seemingly
beckoning, Batty threw a "Take that, critics" 42-yard
touchdown pass to Zach Vredenburgh and Forks aced another exam,
This squad -- this program --
won't go away.
"Obviously, winning in the
last few seconds was a huge thrill for them and those kids
should be very proud," said Doug Beetow, coach and director
of athletics at Eden High. "It shows the character of that
team. That never-quit attitude is probably a reflection of their
" ... I was very impressed
with that never-quit attitude. A couple of times in the fourth
quarter, it was fourth down, they needed something and they got
Forks will, by all accounts,
have to play its best football to make it through Sunday
afternoon with stainless record intact. Eden features a
2,000-yard running back and plentiful athletes surrounding him.
"It was a very quiet ride
home from Rochester," Green said, alluding to the tone of
the coaching staff after it had scouted Eden 34, Bath 8.
Forks' football season,
extended to a 12th week for a third consecutive season, will end
either on Sunday, or a week from today in the Carrier Dome.
Come August of 2004, the
program will take to the practice field once again, coming off
another Section 4-championship season and with a dozen or so
players who were starters the season before to mix together with
components up from a heralded junior varsity.
Expectations will be, should
be, mountain-top high.
But that will be a challenge
for another time.
Dead ahead is Sunday's clash
with Eden High's 33.7-points-per-game machine, presumably the
toughest test of 2003 for a Forks squad that has come up aces
Buffalo News preview
Beetow has spent quite a bit of time this week at
faces mighty 'Forks' on road to title
By KEITH McSHEA
News Sports Reporter
The Eden football coach has
been learning all about Chenango Forks, a team with so much
history it has its own Web site.
impressive," said Beetow, who was even perusing the site
during a recent phone interview. "You want to know anything
about this team, it's here."
Included is how the Blue
Devils, the top-ranked Class B football team in the state, will
face fellow 11-0 team Eden in the state semifinals at 1 p.m.
Sunday at the University of Rochester's Fauver Stadium. The
winner plays for the state championship at 10 a.m. next Saturday
in Syracuse's Carrier Dome against either No. 2 Rye (11-0) or
No. 4 Peru (11-0), who meet at 3 p.m. today at Kingston's Dietz
A few mouse clicks will tell
you that Forks - located about 10 miles northeast of Binghamton
- has won three straight Section IV titles and has gone 35-2
over the last three seasons, with those two losses coming in the
last two Class B state championship games. And that they've had
11 straight winning seasons, haven't lost a regular season game
since 2000, and has outscored opponents, 262-83, this season.
"There's a link to every
game, and I've seen every statistic," said Beetow. "I
don't think they know as much about us as I know about them, but
sometimes when you have too much information you start to
outthinking things. Our philosophy is we're going to keep doing
what got us here. We're playing really good football right now
and the kids are having fun."
Eden, ranked third in the
state, is appearing in the school's first final four. Last week
it rolled to a 34-8 victory over Bath. Bath lost to Forks in the
last two state semifinals (28-14 last year and 7-0 in overtime
Eighth-year coach Kelsey Green
(68-15), a 1970 Forks graduate, and the Blue Devils made it 42
wins in 46 games in dramatic style last week. The Blue Devils
came from behind to beat Section III (Syracuse area) champion
Westhill, 12-7, as Eden coaches looked on at the Carrier Dome.
With Forks trailing in the
final minute, 6-foot, 175-pound quarterback Tim Batty hit fellow
junior Zach Vredenburgh for a 42-yard touchdown. Batty, who is
also a threat to run, has completed 31 of 69 passes this season
for 639 yards while throwing 11 touchdowns and eight
interceptions. It was no surprise that the 6-2, 188-pound
Vredenburgh was on the other end of last week's big play; he has
caught 17 of Batty's passes for 406 yards and eight touchdowns
(four in the last three games).
Forks' rushing workload is
carried by 6-0, 183-pound senior fullback Joe Babcock (236
carries, 1,230 yards, 10 TDs), who also leads the defense from
his linebacker spot. In 22-carry outings the past two weeks,
Babcock rushed for 131 yards against Westhill and had 136 yards
and two TDs in a 35-7 victory over Norwich in the Section IV
"They've got an
outstanding quarterback who can run just as well as he can
throw," said Beetow. "They've got a big fullback who
they've allowed to run a lot more than we see around here, but
he's shifty and he can make some moves."
Eden has rolled behind a
senior-laden lineup led by running back Keien Williams (2,147
yards), who is coming off a 300-yard game in the Section VI
final against Southwestern (48-33) and a 206-yard game versus
Bath. Mark Schichtel has been a great second option out of the
backfield and a force on defense with Craig Liebler and Kevin
Gellerson. Quarterback Charlie Karstedt is also able to make the
big play, and the offensive line is surging right along with
"As a group, they're
jelling," said Beetow. "In practice, there are no
letdowns, and the kids are having a good time. There's not a
negative attitude on the team. Even with the JV kids we brought
up - the older kids are leading by such great examples. The
younger kids are seeing what it takes to be a champion."
While most of Eden's key
players are seniors, Beetow also pointed to how junior reserves
like Jeff Kester (linebacker), Dustin Zampogna (running back)
and Brian Bove (lineman) have contributed. "Those kids fill
in and we really don't lose much."
The community has rallied
behind the Raiders, with signs being displayed throughout the
town and cheerleaders putting signs on the front yards of
players' homes. "Those little things help make it a special
season," Beetow said. "From kids to parents to the
whole school and the whole town, everyone is wrapped around it."
Binghamton Press &
Sun-Bulletin Tuesday post-game article-