Press & Sun-Bulletin -
Forks drives Dryden
QB sparks Blue Devils
with long touchdown run
BY KEVIN STEVENS
Press & Sun-Bulletin
The lead was seized with one big-play burst, the football game
put away from there with grind-it-out offense and granite-solid
So, make it 5-for-5 on the
season for Chenango Forks, 17-0 winner Friday night over a
Dryden squad that took to the field with a 2-0 Division IV
record to Forks' 0-0.
Indefatigable fullback Joe
Babcock lugged the football 31 times through considerable
traffic, and teammate Tim Batty produced 11 points for the Blue
Devils, whose defense improved its per-game yield to a paltry
4.2 points per game.
It was 7-0 at halftime,
courtesy of a 42-yard, third-and-too-long delight by Batty.
Thereafter, Forks was more than content to ease into
And, yes, the Devils made their
In the third quarter, Forks
snapped the football 17 times to Dryden's four.
All told, and excluding punts,
after halftime the Lions ran off 10 plays.
"We know they run a 5-2,
cover-2, but what makes them so effective is that they're
fundamentally sound," Dryden coach Joe Mack said of the
defense that had just blanked his boys. "They rarely get
beat on big plays. That, coupled with the weather and the awful
field position we had because of their special teams just made
for a rough night for our offense."
Indeed, a chill in the
early-October air coupled with chase-the-hat gusts of wind made
for less-than-ideal conditions for the respective offenses. Then
again, 183-pound senior Babcock didn't seem the least bit
To watch Babcock play fullback
is to see a young man who'd gleefully accept a 45-carry load --
weekly -- and maintain his high level of linebacking, too.
On Friday, despite a Dryden run
defense that Forks coach Kelsey Green deemed more stout than
most against Babcock, he came through with 123 yards and a
fourth-quarter touchdown that erased any hope of a comeback by
What had been a
we'll-punt/you-punt-back ballgame through five possessions was
broken up when Batty demonstrated just the kind of ability Mack
had articulated -- nay, feared -- several days before kickoff.
Forks, sizing up a third-and-24
play from Dryden's 42-yard line with just under five minutes to
play in the first half, called for quarterback draw. Batty
accepted the snap, saw running room, and turned what might have
been a respectable gain into a brilliant touchdown by weaving
through one line of defense after another until crossing the
He tacked on the PAT kick, and
an extremely valuable seven points were on the board.
"That was a
back-breaker," Mack said. "He's an athlete. He makes
plays when he has to make plays. He is a heck of an athlete. It
was third-and-24, and instead of going into the half 0-0, it was
7-0. That was a back-breaker."
"He's capable of doing
that any time," said Green, who's watched and admired
similar feats in past contests -- and figures to again.
Lead in hand to start the
second half, and realizing that the defense was on its game
against an unpredictable Dryden offense, Forks' offense got
mean. Babcock's number was called 11 times in the third quarter,
nine more in the fourth.
The lead grew to 10-0 when
Batty, on the opening play of the final quarter, successfully
booted a 19-yard field goal.
Dryden's ensuing possession
ended with a minus-4-yard punt by Jeff Lang, who is rightfully
acknowledged as one of the finest punters in Section 4. Yes, it
was extremely windy.
Forks took over at the Lions'
46-yard line and, with aid of a roughing-the-punter penalty,
knocked Dryden defenders repeatedly backward until Babcock
muscled over from the 1-yard line with 2:24 remaining.
For the game, Blue Devils
rushers enjoyed a 202-87 advantage in yards gained.
"I think we showed
ourselves in that last quarter," Green said. "We sort
of dominated that quarter. It speaks volumes about the guys up
front, Joey, and Timmy Batty ran the offense very, very
Photo caption/credits - Dryden's
Jeff Lang runs with the ball as Chenango Forks' Tim O'Branski,
right, lunges for the tackle during the second quarter of Friday
night's game in Dryden
Irina Peress, Ithaca
Preview article from the
Chenango Forks (4-0), elevated
a spot this week to No. 2 in the state's Class B rankings,
visits Dryden (3-1) at 7 tonight for its Division IV opener.
Dryden has won three in a row
since dropping a 36-15 opener at Norwich, and in its last two
games has forced a combined 12 turnovers. In part, the takeaways
can be tied to a four-part drill the Lions employ in practice
that emphasizes such techniques as scoop-and-score,
football-stripping and the like.
"We work on (creating)
turnovers every day in practice," Dryden coach Joe Mack
said. "Still, that stat is pretty amazing the last two
Forks has yielded a scant 21
points in four games, but tonight bumps into a pack of Lions
that has put up a total of 65 in the last two weeks.
Dryden's main man is versatile
senior Jeff Lang, quarterback/free safety/punter/kicker and a
player Forks scouts are well aware of. His kickoffs regularly
pass by the goal line, and last week against Dryden his five
punts averaged 46 yards.
A weekend ago, Forks defeated
Chenango Valley 21-7 with Joe Babcock rushing for 151 yards.
"They're so good, so
fundamentally sound," Mack said of the Blue Devils.
"They're big up front, their backs run hard. And I think
(quarterback) Tim Batty is as good an athlete as there is in
Section 4." ...