BINGHAMTON -- To Chenango Forks' football
win streak may now be attached the adjective
The program that has ruled Section 4 of
late put a section-record 35th consecutive victory in
the books Saturday, a 42-8 Class B semifinal romp past
Norwich that featured a first half in which the Blue
Devils were at peak form.
Quarterback Rick Mirabito's three rushing
touchdowns led Forks to a 35-0 lead at halftime, at
which point the Devils had rushed for a cool 300 yards
including eight gains of 15 or more yards at Binghamton
It would appear this program, which has
strung 53 victories against Section 4 opposition, is
very much on stride for the postseason. Next step comes
at 7 p.m. Friday back at Binghamton, where the Blue
Devils (9-0) will take on Owego (6-3) with a fifth
straight Section 4 title their quest.
"It's playoff time, we wanted to step up
our game and play the best game that we can play. That's
what we try to do each week," said Mirabito, who
performed magnificently running the offense and running
As for besting the previous Section 4
record streak held by Delhi, tackle Matt Faughnan said:
"It means that all of our hard work is getting paid off.
We feel that we're the hardest working team in the
section, and when we can come out and do this we know
it's well worth the sweat."
All business from the outset was Forks,
which turned its first four possessions into touchdowns
and kept Norwich on its half of the field until the
final two minutes of the opening half.
Forks' first drive went 80 yards in 84
seconds, with fullback Tyler Spencer rushing 21 yards
for the TD on the fourth play from scrimmage. Dylan
Warner tacked on the first of his six PAT kicks.
An exquisite pass through a bothersome
wind from Mirabito to Ed Samson that covered 48 yards on
third-and-9 from Forks' 32-yard line highlighted the
next possession. It ended with Mirabito keeping on an
option play and running in untouched from the 4.
Then, on the second-to-last play of the
first quarter, Jim Nicholson showed a burst of speed
only accentuated by the user-friendly artificial
surface. He took a pitch toward Forks' sideline, picked
up a block on the outside, weaved toward the middle then
back to the sideline to complete a 78-yard scoring run
for a three-TD advantage.
"We love playing on the turf," Mirabito
said. "We're all able to run faster on it and it's just
a lot more fun getting up and down the field, try to see
who's the fastest kid on the team."
And artificial turf it will be from here
forward for Forks, however long this latest venture into
the postseason may last.
The second quarter brought continued
Forks dominance. It was 28-0 after Mirabito carried in
from the 7-yard line 3:25 into the quarter. Then, after
a botched punt attempt by Norwich (5-4) set up Forks at
the Purple Tornado's 38, Mirabito scored again on a
first-down option keeper -- giving him TDs on three
Touchdowns were scored in the formality
of a second half by Forks' Alex Sabo and Norwich's
Keegan Edwards, the latter on a 10-yard pass from Nate
Foote in the final minute of play.
"The way we went out and executed in that
first half, both ways, I think we've taken another
little step forward, which is what we've been trying to
do all year," Forks coach Kelsey Green said. "If we're
going to do it now, it's a great time to do it.
"I know they're down some personnel (due
to injury), but what we tried to do, we did. What we
worked on through the week, we took it out on the field
and did it. That's the key."