Forks escapes CV
Late Warriors' miscues help Blue Devils
By Kevin Stevens
Press & Sun-Bulletin
rules The Valley" chants were revved up once again, for
a 12th consecutive edition of the Chenango
Forks--Chenango Valley football rivalry.
More appropriate, however, in the wake of
the Blue Devils' 14-9 victory Saturday, might have been
"Forks barely escapes The Valley," or perhaps, "Late
breaks assist Forks' rule of The Valley."
The Blue Devils retained neighborhood
bragging rights when Joe Aston sprinted 5 yards around
left end for a touchdown with 55.7 seconds remaining,
and teammate Tim Zdimal intercepted a CV pass near
midfield with six seconds left.
But assuredly, they'll not have any
dominance to reflect on. Not this year, not after
posting their narrowest margin of victory over CV since
a one-point tickler in 1996.
"They're a good football team, and we
knew that," Forks coach Kelsey Green said. "People were
coming to me all week and saying, 'Naw, really?' Well, I
hope they came to the game. Because if they just read
about it and see us by 14-9 and think we didn't play
well, they're out of their minds.
"That's a good football team."
But in the waning moments, CV was a good
football team that committed several costly
The Warriors (4-1) took a 9-7 lead when,
on the first play of the final quarter, Matt Mullins
passed to Nick Dadamio for a 7-yard touchdown.
Three punts and a turnover later, Forks,
still down 9-7, took possession of the football at its
42-yard line with 4:29 remaining.
On the second play of the drive, the
Warriors were called for roughing the passer, a penalty
that moved the football to CV's 37. Five plays later, on
third down from the 35-yard line, Blue Devils
quarterback Bryan Lance dropped back and passed deep
intended for Drew Pero. The pass was incomplete, but CV
was called for pass interference.
What followed was the critical penalty, a
dead-ball unsportsmanlike conduct infraction against CV
coach Jay Hope for protesting the call. That advanced
the ball half-the-distance to the goal line, or, the
Aston picked up 5 yards to the 5, and on
second down was stopped for no gain.
On third down, with 59 seconds remaining,
Aston took off to his left, continued a wide path to the
outside and ran in without a touch from a defender.
Dylan Warner's second successful PAT kick accounted for
the final point of the game.
Valley started at its 21-yard line after the ensuing
kickoff, and moved to its 45 in five plays.
On second down after Mullins spiked the
football to stop the clock with 13 1/2 seconds
remaining, Mullins passed down the middle. The ball
caromed high off the hands of a receiver and was picked
off by sophomore Zdimal.
All that remained was Lance taking a
knee, and Forks improved to a 4-1 record.
"That last one, we got a timeout (before
the TD) and Chick (assistant coach Dave Chickanosky)
talked about a different blocking scheme. We just took
it a little wider," Green said. "Joey is a tough 5-yard
runner, a little sparkplug. That's who we wanted with
it, and Jarred Wells threw a nice block."
As for the penalty that brought the
football to the 10, Hope accepted full responsibility.
"We talk to our kids about that kind of
stuff all the time," he said. "I'm the leader of the
ship, I'll take the blame on that one. I have to. I did
The game amounted to a showcase for CV's
passing game, featuring junior quarterback Mullins and a
talented cast of dependable receivers.
Mullins completed 16 of 27 throws for 196
yards, demonstrating quality decision making behind some
excellent pass protection.
On a 79-yard drive for CV's touchdown to
open the fourth quarter, Mullins spread six completions
for an 80-yard total to three receivers.
"He's got a lot of poise back there,"
Green said of Mullins. "We didn't get a lot of pressure
on him, and he's very accurate. They spread you, they
all can run, they can catch it and he can throw it."
Mullins said: "For the previous four
games, we were opening up the run. (Forks) knew we could
throw it, but I think they were expecting us to run the
ball a little more than we threw it."
struck first on a 34-yard field goal from Dadamio 5:09
into the game.
Forks answered on its first possession of
the second quarter when a 28-yard Lance-to-Garrett Cade
pass play brought the ball to the 7, and Nick Stephens
rushed in on the next play.
"It just shows that we can come from
behind, that we never give up," Warner said of the
outcome. "It's Forks football. You never give up."
Forks' Josh Cary added, "There were two
prepared football teams, both physical teams. I think
the game came down to who made the fewer mistakes."