Press & Sun-Bulletin game
BY ARTHUR SHERMAN
Forks catches break to beat Whitney Pt.
Press & Sun-Bulletin
KATTELVILLE -- Zach Vredenburgh
hasn't made many receptions this season, but
Saturday he made one of his biggest.
Vredenburgh reached between
two defenders to haul in a long touchdown pass late in the first
half to help Chenango Forks beat visiting Whitney Point, 13-7,
in a Section 4 Class B semifinal.
Quarterback Tim Batty tossed
the 36-yarder to Vredenburgh with 37 seconds left before
halftime to give the Blue Devils a 13-0 lead. Vredenburgh, who
had Forks' only reception of the game, entered the game with 11
Forks (9-0) advances to face
Norwich (8-1) in the Class B championship game either Friday or
Saturday at Binghamton Alumni Stadium. Norwich defeated Dryden,
33-6, Friday night.
"I'm proud for the
kids," Forks coach Kelsey Green said. "They get an
opportunity that not a lot of teams get. They earned it."
Leading 7-0, Chenango Forks
began its final first-half drive at its 42 with 2:33 left. Five
plays later Batty connected with Vredenburgh on a fourth-and-8
from the Golden Eagles' 36.
Vredenburgh, a tight end, used
all of his 6-foot-2 frame to reach back and make a one-handed
grab at the Point's 20-yard line. He then spun away from two
defenders and scored with the help of a Jon Florence block at
"I've never seen a catch
like that in high school football," Green said. "Then
finishing it off. That was huge."
The Devils tried a similar play
on the first play of the second quarter, but that pass was
"Tim underthrew it a
little bit and the linebacker picked it," Vredenburgh said. "When we tried the play again he threw the ball a
little better, a little closer, and I stuck my hand out and
caught it. I've made catches like that before, but never in a
Forks scored on its first
drive. Tim O'Branski ran 2 yards for a score with 4:34 remaining
in the first period. The drive went 38 yards in 10 plays with
fullback Joe Babcock chewing up 29 of those yards.
Point's defense stiffened in
the second half. The Eagles (6-3) allowed the state's top-ranked
Class B team, 17 yards after halftime.
The Eagles' points came on
Brian Soeffing's 2-yard TD run and Dustin Wilson's PAT 42
seconds into the final quarter. The drive started after Point
recovered a Forks fumble on the Devils' 39.
Press & Sun-Bulletin preview article-
Two-time defending champion
Chenango Forks (8-0) will be home at 2 p.m. Saturday to take on
Whitney Point (6-2) in one semi, with Dryden (6-2) visiting
Norwich (7-1) at 7 tonight in the other.
Forks, Division IV champion and
perched atop the New York State Sports Writers Association's
rankings, is two victories shy of its third consecutive season
with a double-digit win total. The Golden Eagles are looking to
make it back-to-back seven-win seasons. Prior to last year, the
program hadn't celebrated a seventh victory since 1989.
"They've got it all going.
They're on all eight cylinders over there (at Forks)," said
Joe Pagano, who is in his 12th season coaching the Point but who
has yet to oppose the Blue Devils.
Both teams lean heavily on the
running game, yet have quick, athletic and elusive quarterbacks
capable big-play production on most any snap -- Forks junior Tim
Batty and Whitney Point senior Chris Hand. Each is a menace in
the defensive secondary, as well.
The Eagles' Brian Soeffing, a
230-pound senior, improved to a 1,173-yard rushing total with
last week's 255 -- on 11 carries -- against Ithaca. Joe
Babcock's 872 rushing yards tops Forks charts.
"We've got to be able to
move the football, get some sustained drives," Pagano said.
"They've got so many weapons, you've got to keep the ball
away from them."
Forks coach Kelsey Green said,
"Sometimes, the more you watch tape, the better you feel --
I don't get that feeling this time. "I'm liking No. 28
(Soeffing) a lot, and Hand, he reminds me of Timmy (Batty) when
he has the ball in his hands."
Division III champion Norwich
has strung six victories since a 14-0 setback Sept. 13 at Forks,
and has given up a total of 14 points in its last three games.
Fullback Andy Reid (5-10, 205) leads Norwich's varied cast of
ball carriers with 671 yards, and hit up Dryden for 96 and two
TDs in the Purple Tornado's season-opening 36-15 victory over
Norwich and Forks met to decide
last year's Class B championship, with the Blue Devils posting a
Press & Sun-Bulletin Tuesday preview
Forks hauls win streak
Blue Devils' last
Section 4 loss was vs. Oneonta in 2000
BY KEVIN STEVENS
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Come Saturday afternoon, it will be Whitney Point's opportunity
to play the role of streak-buster against the juggernaut that
has been Chenango Forks' football program
The Golden Eagles (6-2) will visit the unbeaten Blue Devils at 2
p.m. for a Section 4 Class B semifinal, and the right to oppose
either Norwich or Dryden in the following weekend's title game
at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.
"Obviously, they're the
best team in the section," Point coach Joe Pagano said of
the Blue Devils. "It's unreal the confidence they play
Just where Forks stacks up
overall in Section 4 is open for debate. However, no other
program can match the Blue Devils recent success rate against
With a 31-14 victory Saturday
over Bainbridge-Guilford/Afton, Forks extended to 32 games its
win streak against Section 4 opposition. During that streak,
which began midway through 2000 season, Forks has outscored its
Section 4 opposition by a 31.2 to 6.75 average, with nine of
those wins coming by shutout.
The last Section 4 squad to
defeat Forks was Oneonta, by 21-14 on Sept. 30, 2000. That
setback came a week after a 13-7 loss to Corning East -- those
the Devils' lone two losses of the 2000 season.
"We gave the thing away,
the last two," Forks coach Kelsey Green said of the two
losses. "We fumbled on the 2-yard line going in to beat
East, the next week we fumbled everything.
"Oh, yeah, I remember both
This season, Forks' eight
victories have come by an average 17 1/2-point margin, three by
anticipated," Green said. "I thought we could be a
good football team and that it'd take time to get there. But
getting a couple of tough victories early, I think, threw us in
the fire and they came out of that well, then survived the Notre