By Kevin Stevens
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2004
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
SYRACUSE -- Occasionally, circumstances beg the silly question.
Friday afternoon -- in the wake of Chenango Forks 48, Rye 0 to
accentuate a three-game, state-playoff aggregate of Chenango Forks 123,
Forked Opponents 14 -- prompted one of them.
What to do for an encore?
"I have no idea. It'll be a long time before I start thinking about
that one," said Kelsey Green, head of a program that broke Section 4
ground with back-to-back state football championships.
Green is not a boastful man, not one given to distributing
superlatives as one would miniature Mounds bars on Oct. 31. And so Part
II of his response carries some weight.
"An encore to what these kids did this year? I don't know if you're
ever going to see what we saw this year in terms of a domination
factor," he said.
"Last year, we had the same record, but it was a battle most every
week. This year, because of what these kids did from a year ago to get
here, they're at a whole other level than they were a year ago -- and
they were as good as there was in the B's last year."
A Forks football formula that begins, proceeds to and ends with the
word "We" gave birth Friday to completion of a second consecutive 13-0
season, one during which one of 12 on-field opponents
(Bainbridge-Guilford forfeited to the Blue Devils in mid-October) put
first-half points on the board.
As for legitimate tests along the way, there were two: 15-6 over
Norwich in the Section 4 Class B final, and 27-7 over Hornell in the
state semifinal round.
Come November weekends in the Carrier Dome, when one would expect the
nature of the challenge to only intensify, the Blue Devils' average
victory margin was 37 1/2 points. Six teams previously posted title-game
shutouts, none by a margin as wide as Forks' on Friday. In fact, only
Dolgeville's 55-3 throttling of Fort Edward in the 2000 Class D finale
was more one-sided since the inaugural round of finals in 1993.
Domination factor, indeed.
It was a Forks team with no discernible weakness, a cast so full of
playmakers that opponents inclined to take away one phase were doomed to
be shredded by another, and on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Offensively, the Devils were perfectly comfortable grinding out
5-yards-a-clip drives, yet demonstrated with great frequency big-play
ability. Too, it genuinely mattered not to those in the red helmets
whose name was attached to the most glittering statistics when the
newspaper arrived the next morning.
"To run the football, you've got to have the back who's not running
the ball throwing the block," Green said. "And I'll tell you, they all
do. They don't care who carries the football, they just care about the
number on the scoreboard."
Defensively, 63 points surrendered and a fifth shutout of 2004
registered in the championship game about sums it up. Size, speed, a
grasp of fundamentals and an awareness of singular responsibilities were
"Great coaching, great defense, a lot of tough kids that we've had
both years," end Zach Vredenburgh said. "It just shows that we learn the
defense that the coaches teach us, and they teach it well."
"Hard to run the ball on, hard to pass the ball on, hard to move the
ball on -- period," was secondary man Jason Chier's description.
"It just shows that we're a real close group and we've got it
together," lineman Alex Williams said. "Everyone knows what to do and we
just do it."
While the '04 Blue Devils were most certainly a crew driven largely
by student-athletes who've now played their final high school football
game, there would appear to be a sound foundation on which to build the
'05 squad -- notably juniors Matt Faughnan, Tyler Spencer, Jim Nicholson
and sophomore Josh Cary.
Food for thought for '05 Forks foes, from the man who has overseen 50
victories against two defeats over the last four seasons:
"What we'd have to do is have our kids who are coming back work as
hard as the kids have worked who are in the program have the last three
or four years," Green said.
"I'm thinking we're going to have that."
And dessert for that food for thought as the sports calendar page
flips to the winter season:
Chenango Forks and Maine-Endwell -- the latter with one final rabbit
tugged from coach Jack Touhey's top hat -- claimed state football
championships hours apart Friday. Broome County baseball programs have
scooped up three state titles over the last four seasons. Broome boys'
representation in state basketball finals? Zilch since '93.
Ah, maybe some decade.