- Coger 13-61, 1 TD
- Salisbury 6-31
- Lighton 2-18
- Coholan 3-7
- Eaton 7-(-6)
- Batty 9-81, 2 TDs
- Chier 9-70, 3 TDs
- Jim Nicholson 9-47
- O'Branski 6-47
- Joe Nicholson 5-45, 1 TD
- Spencer 6-42
- Hessney 2-9
- Sabo 2-9
- Falcon 1-9
- Wells 1-5
- Farnham 7-2, 1 TD
- Rittenburg 1-2
- Purce 2-0
- Kwartler 1-0
- Eaton 1-for-7, minus-2 yards, 3 int.
Forks, Westhill meet again in Class B football playoffs
By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Coming soon: Chenango Forks -- Syracuse Westhill, The Playoff Sequel.
A season ago, the programs came together and a mid-November football classic ensued, with the Blue Devils cashing in a last-minute touchdown for a five-point win that propelled them to the Class B state championship.
Once again, the quarterfinal round brings a Forks-Westhill matchup in the Carrier Dome, this one scheduled for a 9:30 kickoff Saturday morning and this time with Forks riding a 23-game win streak.
Each squad is coming off a tense sectional final -- Westhill getting past Oneida by 36-35 on a two-point conversion with 42 seconds remaining; Forks defeating Norwich by 15-6 in its lone truly competitive contest of the year.
Similar to last year, Forks defenders must concern themselves with an outstanding Westhill running back. Micah Coger, a 5-foot-7, 215-pound senior who doubles as nose tackle, last week carried 37 times for 245 yards to bring his season total to 1,223 yards.
"He's very strong, very powerful and very quick. You can appreciate how quick he really is when you see him play defense," Forks coach Kelsey Green said. "He turns that 3- or 4-yard gain into a 6- or 7-yard gain, and he can take it all the way, too.
"But if you concentrate too much on him, their quarterback can hurt you, and their major receivers from last year seem to be back."
Last year against Westhill, it was a 196-yard rushing game from Joe Casey that Forks had to overcome en route to the 12-7 win over the Warriors.
The Blue Devils, unscored upon in the first half of any game this season, would very much like to avoid having to duplicate last year's late heroics in order to get by Westhill. In 2003, a 72-yard drive starting with 1:10 to play in the game was capped by a Tim Batty-to-Zach Vredenburgh pass play of 42 yards brought the decisive points with in the final half-minute.
"Their record is kind of deceiving, 7-3 but they've gotten a lot better," Vredenburgh said of the Warriors. "Our line will have to do a great job. They have some quickness up front as well as some big guys. We'll have to run the ball well because most everything we do comes off the run."
The 36-point total last week by Westhill, which trailed by 14 in the final quarter, is a total 13 shy of the points allowed by Forks this season.
Another upset for Westhill?
By Neil Kerr
Staff writer - Syracuse Post-Standard
Since enduring an early season three-game losing streak, Westhill has served as the underdog week after week.
Against all odds, Westhill (7-3) has won five straight games, including its come-from-behind win over Oneida last Sunday. That win earned the Warriors a second straight Section 3 Class B crown.
For a second straight fall, Westhill has earned the right to tackle No. 1 state-ranked Chenango Forks (10-0), the reigning state Class B champion.
Coach Kelsey Green's Blue Devils own the state's longest active winning streak at 23 games. Green's monsters are also 35-1 over the last four years, the lone loss a one-point defeat in the 2002 title game.
Last Friday, Westhill coach Pat Burns was among the spectators as Chenango Forks survived its first close game of the season to win its sectional final 15-6 over Norwich.
"They're bigger, faster and stronger than they were last year," Burns said of Chenango Forks.
For one thing, Chenango Forks returns most if its lineup, having graduated only 11 players from the state championship team. That corps starts with senior all-state quarterback Tim Batty, who has passed for 541 yards and nine touchdowns. Batty, also the team rushing leader with 722 yards and 10 more touchdowns, was named MVP of last fall's state Class B title game.
Batty's top receiver is all-state split end Zach Vredenburgh (15 catches, 255 yards, 8 TDs). Westhill fans will vividly remember the 6-2 Vredenburgh - he's the player who leaped high to make a 40-yard scoring reception of the game-winning pass from Batty with 25 seconds left to play as the Forks beat Westhill 12-7 in the Dome last year.
Defensively, the Blue Devils have allowed only 49 points all season and are unscored upon during the first half in all nine of their on-field wins. (One victory was by forfeit).
"I believe we have a chance," Burns said. "We darn near beat this team last year, and my kids just don't think they can lose. They remember how well we played against Chenango Forks last year, and they want another crack at 'em."
Offensively, Westhill will need another strong game from 215-pound tailback Micah Coger who has rushed for 1,223 yards this season.
Senior quarterback Sean Eaton has thrown for 494 yards this fall, including his best effort vs. Oneida last week (9-for-19, 105 yards). Tight end Nick Brusa is his favorite target.
Westhill's swarming defense has also been a big factor in helping the Warriors repeat as sectional champions. That unit is led by the work of 275-pound tackle Alex Lee, 215-pound tackle Brian Fischer, 195-pound linebacker Pat Cassidy, and deep back Tony Stray.
Playing Norwich good preparation for Forks
From staff reports
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Chenango Forks' experience against Norwich in Section 4's Class B title game paid great dividends on Saturday, when the Blue Devils put on a fabulous offensive display -- to go with top-notch defensive and special teams play -- in a 48-7 state quarterfinal romp past Syracuse Westhill.
"Thank goodness for Norwich," Forks coach Kelsey Green said. "They (Westhill) ran almost the same type of defense that we were going to see, the 5-3 and the stunting all over. If we don't play Norwich last week that way, what we did last week we might have seen here.
"But the kids had seen it and we tweaked a lot of things. We did a lot of things differently, though it might not have looked that way."
The adjustments led to 229 yards of first-half offense and a 27-0 halftime lead, which was hardly in jeopardy given the brand of defense being played by the Blue Devils. Westhill running back Micah Coger, who'd rushed for 1,223 yards in 10 games before Saturday, closed with 61 against Forks-- 27 coming after Forks built a 48-0 lead.
"We knew that he gets outside, we had to keep our corners up," said Alex Williams, a two-way Forks lineman. "And he likes to cut back, so we had to make sure there were no cut-backs."
Too, Blue Devil scouts noted a Westhill tendency, and prepared accordingly. On the first play from scrimmage, a pass play from Westhill's 21-yard line, Forks' Kevin Purce intercepted near midfield and returned to the 26.
"What we'd seen is that they like to test you early, so the throw was not unexpected," Green said.
Forks' offense didn't miss a beat despite the first-quarter loss of 227-
pound senior tackle Brad Watson to a knee injury. Sophomore Josh Cary (6-4, 268) moved to left guard, with senior Luke Parga (6-1, 218) taking over at left tackle.
"Chenango Forks ran down the hill," Westhill coach Pat Burns said. "They came down the hill at us and we were trying to run up the hill at them."