Forks fans come out in full force
'They're worth a touchdown a game,' Blue
Devils coach says
By William Moyer
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
-- Jim McLaughlin waved an inflated football helmet and Dave
Pavlick played a well-known victory march on his boom-box
after each touchdown.
These guys were serious
about cheering for Chenango Forks in Friday's state playoff
So were hundreds of others
who huddled close to stay warm at a chilly Ty Cobb Stadium
to watch the Blue Devils take another step toward a
third-consecutive Class B championship by beating Homer,
During the team's current
37-game winning streak, these boisterous boosters have
played a key role in Chenango Forks' success, according to
the head coach.
"We feel like we have the
best fans in the section," Kelsey Green said Friday before
taking his team into the locker room for a pre-game talk.
"They're worth a touchdown a game."
Five seasons ago,
McLaughlin got the red helmet -- which is similar to a beach
ball, mounted atop a wooden pole with red-and-blue streamers
-- for the Blue Devils' first run at a state championship,
which they lost to Peru 14-7 at the Carrier Dome in
He inflates it for playoff
games and then waves it side-to-side to celebrate
touchdowns, accompanied Friday by Pavlick's boom-box
rendition of the Notre Dame Victory March.
"Anything to get them
excited," said McLaughlin, a Binghamton firefighter whose
daughter, Courtney, is a Forks cheerleader. "They pour their
hearts and souls out for us."
Without the school's band
in the stands for Friday's game, Pavlick provided the pep
song -- "just like the band does," he said.
"It's fun; it's a blast,
especially when we win," said Pavlick, whose son
quarterbacked the Blue Devils during the 1999 season.
The team's legacy of
recent success is woven into the fans' game-day attire.
Rich Mirabito, father of
quarterback Rick Mirabito, wore a blue windbreaker embossed
with "NYS Champions" as he dished out doughnuts, bagels and
other goodies at a pregame tailgate party in the parking lot
-- another Forks tradition at playoff time.
Others donned blue or gray
sweatshirts with "Forks Football" or red-and-blue ski caps
with "Forks Football, NYS Class B Champions" to commemorate
the team's two state titles.
"Everybody gets decked out
in their gear. It's great," said Sean Faughnan, father of
tackle Matt Faughnan. "It's a great community for football.
We think it's important to support the boys."
An hour before the 1 p.m.
kickoff, several dozen fans already were perched along the
top row of bleachers at the 50-yard line.
Norm Lawrence, a retired
floor covering employee, and his wife, Jane-- who both got
hooked on Forks football when their grandson played 13
seasons ago -- were entrenched in their seats to watch the
warm-up drills on the field.
"You get a better view up
here," Norm Lawrence said about getting to the game a hour
Lawrence and hundreds of
others who chanted "Defense" and applauded each touchdown --
liked what they saw Friday -- a Forks victory and a ticket
to the Carrier Dome on Nov. 19 - Forks' fifth consecutive
appearance in the state Class B semifinal game.
Photo credits: Diogenes
Agcaoili Jr., Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin