2006 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 7 vs Norwich
CF defeats Norwich 23-0

Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and
the Norwich Evening Sun

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Forks rolls to fifth straight victory

By Kevin Stevens
Press & Sun-Bulletin
NORWICH -- Methodically, powerfully and with customarily widespread contributors, Chenango Forks claimed a fifth consecutive football victory Friday night, 23-0 over Norwich.
Three Blue Devils scored a touchdown apiece, Dylan Warner added a third-quarter field goal, and the defense turned in an effective-if-unspectacular performance. Together, it amounted to a 4-0 record in Division III and 6-1 overall for Section 4's five-time defending Class B champions.
All that remains of Forks' regular season is a trip to Windsor a week from today. Should the Black Knights emerge from this afternoon's contest against Chenango Valley with a win, Week 8 would mean a showdown of Division III unbeatens.
On Friday, it was a workmanlike Forks squad that, aside from a few too many mistakes for the coaching staff's liking, simply took care of business on a night it had the upper hand from a personnel perspective.
"I think up front is always key in a Chenango Forks-Norwich football game," Blue Devils coach Kelsey Green said, "and I think we maybe had a little better of it there."
On the offensive side, the result was a quartet of ball carriers who each gained 50 or more yards; and scoring drives of 56, 70, 68 and 75 yards, respectively.
It was in the third quarter when Forks put this one away.
Leading 14-0, the Devils returned the second-half kickoff to their 32-yard line and proceeded to put together their most physically dominant drive of the chilly night.
Nine consecutive rushes averaged 7.3-yards-a-pop and brought the football to a position just outside Norwich's 1-yard line. But on fourth-and-goal, the guests absorbed an illegal-procedure penalty and subsequently opted for a 24-yard field goal, which Warner smoothly converted for a 17-0 spread.
A bit under seven minutes remained when Norwich started the ensuing possession at its 15, and ripped into Forks' defense just as the Devils had carved up the Purple Tornado a possession earlier.
Eight rushes -- or, 7.4 yards per attempt -- advanced the ball to Forks' 26-yard line. But on a second-and-3 play, an attempted handoff went awry and Forks covered a loose football at its 25-yard line.
"We moved the ball, had a nice drive going, then made a mistake -- that's kind of been our story," Tornado coach John Pluta said.
Call it a blunder that cannot happen, not when trailing by 17 in the third quarter, and not against a foe known to seize opportunity.
Forks went back to work, spreading the rushing assignments about between Warner, Bryan Lance, Joe Aston and Nick Stephens. That crew banged away at the Tornado for a dozen rushes to arrive at Norwich's 13-yard line, from which point Warner took a handoff and headed outside apparently looking to pass. Instead, he kept toward Norwich's sideline and lunged across the goal line for the final points with 9:12 remaining.
Of Forks' defense, which yielded 219 yards, Lance said: "They had a couple of big plays, a couple things we couldn't seem to stop. But for the most part, we shut them down up front."
The Blue Devils' halftime advantage came about with Lance sneaking over left guard from the 1-yard line with 2:23 to play in the first quarter, and Lance connecting with Jason Gildea for a 6-yard touchdown pass 49 seconds before halftime.
Aston, a 186-pound junior, closed with 80 yards on 14 carries as Forks' rushing leader. Film study will likely link many of the grass stains on the backs of those purple jerseys to his ability to finish a run in authoritative fashion.

by Patrick Newel
Norwich Evening Sun

NORWICH Chenango Forks' Section IV winning streak of over 50 games and five years without a loss was halted earlier this season by Corning East. Still, one streak remains, and that is a division winning streak of six years as the Tornado fell to the Blue Devils Friday night.
Chenango Forks, with no division losses along with Windsor, is assured another Class B postseason berth after this win. "Forks is a heck of a football team, but we're proud of the effort of our kids," said Norwich coach John Pluta. "Our kids played a terrific game."
Norwich, which suffered its first two-game losing streak in a 3-4 campaign, did little offensively for a quarter and a half, and the Blue Devils' running-back-by-committee approach led to a pair of scores.
Quarterback Bryan Lance hit paydirt on a one-yard keeper, and Lance threw a six-yard scoring pass to Jason Gildea in the second.
Norwich sustained its first offensive drive late in the half, but was derailed by a five-yard procedure penalty.
Bending but not breaking, Norwich halted a 75-yard Forks drive in the third quarter in which the Blue Devils came as close as the one-foot line. A five-yard penalty forced a field goal.
Down 17 points, Norwich drove from its 15 all the way to Forks 25 getting first-down runs from Chris Mattingly and Brennan Ryan. a fumbled center-to-quarterback exchange ended that drive.
Dylan Warner added a 13-yard scoring run in the fourth, and Forks finished with 322 yards rushing as four backs had at least 51 yards rushing. "Penalties and mistakes kind of got us off our stride," Pluta said. "Those types of things hurt against good teams like Chenango Forks."
Norwich (3-4) plays at longtime rival Oneonta on Friday.
JV notes: Norwich rallied from a 7-0 deficit getting two TD passes from Tim Clark to David Carson before falling late in the game to the Blue Devils, 14-12. The Purple junior varsity club fell to 2-5 overall.

1 2 3 4   Tot
Chenango Forks 07 07 03 06 - 23
Norwich 0 0 0 0 - 00
  • CF - Bryan Lance 1 run (Dylan Warner kick)
  • CF - Jason Gildea 6 pass from Lance (Warner kick)
  • CF - Warner 24 field goal
  • CF - Warner 13 run (kick failed)


Norwich CF
First Downs 13 20
Rushes-Yards 36-161 56-322
Comp-Att-Int 3-6-1 2-2-0
Passing Yards 58 35
Total Offense 42-219 58-357
Punts-ave yards 4-21.3 1-31
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 3-15 7-43


Norwich rushing

  • Chris Mattingly 13-70
  • Brennan Ryan 8-64
  • Nate Foote 5-22
  • Jesse Prosser 3-6
  •  Shane Thompson 2-5
  • Robert Martin 5-(-6)

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Joe Aston 14-80
  • Dylan Warner 13-72, 1 TD
  • Nick Stephens 9-52
  • Bryan Lance 11-51, 1 TD
  • Max Ginty 4-30
  • Jarred Wells 1-20
  • Ray Lord 1-7
  • Tim Zdimal 2-5
  • Tom McMillen 1-5

Norwich passing

  • Robert Martin 3-for-6, 58 yards, 1 int

Chenango Forks passing

  • Bryan Lance 2-for-2, 35 yards, 1 TD

Norwich receiving

  • Brennan Ryan 1-22
  • Tyler Slater 1-22
  • Nate Foote 1-14

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • Garrett Cade 1-29
  • Jason Gildea 1-6, 1 TD

JV Score: ?

Preview Article: 

by Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

Chenango Forks (5-1) will target a fourth victory in as many Division III contests when it visits Norwich (3-3) at 7 tonight. Along their path to five consecutive Section 4 Class B championships, the Blue Devils have picked up seven straight victories over the Purple Tornado.

Chenango Forks (5-1) at Norwich (3-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

by Patrick Newell
Norwich Evening Sun
Perhaps an M.I.T. mathematician could formulate a scenario or two in which Norwich could make the Class B playoffs, but for all intents and purposes, last week's loss to Chenango Valley the Tornado's second division defeat knocked it out of the playoff hunt. What awaits the Purple, who play their third straight home game, is a team Chenango Forks who has won every contest this decade against NHS. That includes playoff victories over Norwich each of the previous four seasons.
This, however, is not your typical powerhouse Blue Devils team that was blowing teams away in years past. Forks narrowly escaped with a win over Maine-Endwell in week one, was shutout by Corning East, 14-0, and was outplayed statistically by Chenango Valley two weeks ago, but scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to win by five points.
Bryan Lance leads Forks with 311 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Joe Aston has a team-high six touchdowns, and Dylan Warner has 209 yards rushing to complete a balanced backfield.
What has remained a constant for Forks, who will clinch at least a tie for the Division III title with a victory, is a stingy defense that allows less than 10 points per game.
Norwich has truly found itself in a seesaw game of wins and losses: All three wins this season have been followed by losses.

Post-game Article:    

Fifth Quarter:

Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

While Chenango Forks continues make maximum use of its trademark running game, quarterback Bryan Lance has proven more than capable of sprinkling in the forward pass with quality results.

The most recent example was on display Friday at Norwich, where the Blue Devils won, 23-0, to improve to a 6-1 record.

Lance passed twice and completed both, his 35-yard output far more significant in the outcome than the figure might suggest.

On Forks' second possession of the game, Lance -- on a second-and-13 play -- connected with Garret Cade for a 29-yard gain to the Purple Tornado's 3-yard line. Three plays later, Lance sneaked in for the first points of the night.

In the second quarter, the Devils used 12 consecutive running plays to reach Norwich's 6-yard line, from which point Lance threw to a wide open Jason Gildea in the right side of the end zone for the second of Forks' three TDs.

The victory was Forks' first by shutout this season.

"Coming up here, it's never easy," Devils coach Kelsey Green said. "We call it 'The Little House of Horrors' -- and that is a compliment to the Norwich football program. They're tough up here."

Norwich (3-4, 1-3) failed to reach the Class B playoffs for the first time since 2001.

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