2007 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 10 vs Chenango Valley

Blue Devils dismiss Chenango Valley 21-7!
Win a record seventh straight Section 4 title!


Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

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Photo credits - none

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Forks leaves no doubt in winning Class B football title

Devils' defense dominates CV

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

BINGHAMTON -- For a second successive playoff weekend, Chenango Forks followed a winning recipe featuring a big-play touchdown on possession No. 1 and accentuated by a defense that refused to surrender a point.

Only this time, the stakes were bigger, the satisfaction much greater.

The Blue Devils extended to seven the program's streak of Section 4 Class B football championships with a 21-7 victory over Chenango Valley at Binghamton Alumni Stadium, where an estimated 6,000 spectators Friday night made for a perfectly electric atmosphere.

Joe Aston's 130 first-half rushing yards included a 63-yard scoring burst on Forks' fourth play from scrimmage, and Blue Devils defenders picked off five Chenango Valley passes -- two by Garret Cade less than five minutes apart in the fourth quarter -- as they knocked off CV for the second time this autumn.

Forks' string of victories against its rivals from across the river grew to 14, and the Devils' Section 4 playoff win streak reached a 13th game.

Next up will be a state quarterfinal against Section 3's champion, either Westhill or Cazenovia, 7 p.m. a week from tonight back at Binghamton.

"It's awesome to be part of this," said Aston, who injured an ankle and carried just once after halftime. "Generations have played here. It's awesome that it's our time now and we got it done."

"It hasn't hit me yet," said Tim Zdimal, who took the bulk of Aston's carries in the second half and intercepted a pass on CV's final offensive play of a what-might-have-been 2007 season.

Chenango Forks, which built a 14-0 halftime advantage and turned successfully to grind-it-out football thereafter, all but wrapped it up when 6-foot-4 Cade picked off a first-down pass from Matt Mullins and returned 52 yards up the sideline to make it a three-TD difference 35 seconds into the final quarter.

Cade would tack on a second interception to halt a lengthy Warriors drive that reached Forks' 20-yard line with a bit under six minutes remaining.

CV senior Mullins closed with 191 yards on 18-for-32 passing, the number of attempts in large part by design with the Warriors' offense spread most of the night.

The Warriors also showed Forks a wee twist, with Trevor Cola taking half-a-dozen or more direct snaps from shotgun formation in the second half and picking up a decent chunk of yardage. He finished with 47 yards rushing and 51 receiving.

But on this night, with Forks playing in front most of the way and effectively employing its bend-but-don't-break defense, the title wasn't about to be snatched away. The shutout was averted when Matt Fedish returned a punt 67 yards for a score with 4:11 remaining.

Aston's 63-yard TD with 6:48 to play in the opening quarter came on a well-executed option play that started left toward CV's sideline. But he caught a seam early on in the run, cut back to the right and outraced his pursuers across the goal line.

"It was absolutely huge," Reynolds said. "That run by Joe Aston was just awesome. Getting up on a team early in a game helps you so much."

CV responded with a drive that reached Forks' 21-yard line, only to have Nick Stephens intercept a pass in the end zone with 3:38 left in the quarter.

The Blue Devils' second TD came on the end of a 10-play, 61-yard drive on which their offensive line most certainly established its presence. The yardage was gained exclusively on the ground, and Reynolds' 8-yard keeper inside for a score marked the fifth rush of 7 or more yards on the drive.

Reynolds kept around end for the two-pointer and it was 14-0 with 8:01 left in the half.

Following a scoreless third quarter CV took possession at its 40-yard line with 10:38 remaining and still very much in the ballgame.

That was when Cade delivered the crusher.

Mullins passed in the direction of the sideline, but Cade dashed over to pick off the football and sprint 52 yards for a TD. Rob Lumsden kicked the PAT to make it 21-0, too wide a gap for the Warriors against the brand of defense employed on this night by Forks.

"I think on the interception for a touchdown on the sideline, he was literally trying to throw the ball away but didn't get it far enough out of bounds," CV coach Jay Hope said.

CV's final possession brought some high-quality work by Mullins and receivers to move the football from the Warriors' 33 to Forks' 6-yard line, but his final pass of the night was intercepted by Zdimal in the end zone with 28 seconds to play.

Of Forks' seventh consecutive entrance into state playoffs, coach Kelsey Green said:

"It means that we have great people throughout our program, from the modified level to the JV to the people who work with our varsity kids. A lot of people on the same page willing to sacrifice for kids without getting the big slap on the back out in public.

"And then to have the type of kid every year who is willing to do what we ask him to do, year-round, and like it. Kids you can count on when the game is tough and when the game is on the line.

"I'm very proud."

CF picks apart CV: 5 interceptions

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

BINGHAMTON -- With Chenango Valley's offense in attack mode from the start, it became evident early that Chenango Forks' secondary might have to come up big if Section 4's Class B football championship were to stay put for another year.

Mission accomplished.

The Blue Devils logged five interceptions -- two by Garret Cade, one returned for a score -- in Friday night's 21-7 victory at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.

Jake Reynolds, Nick Stephens and Tim Zdimal picked off a pass apiece, the collective defensive effort squelching the Warriors' hopes of ending not only Forks' dominance within the section but a stretch of futility against the Devils that began in 1995.

Cade's first pick proved most significant, coming in the second minute of the final quarter and resulting in a 52-yard return up the Warriors' sideline for a touchdown that led to a 21-0 advantage.

"Cade's interception was just making a break on the football from the zone_ and then, please get in, please get in, and then I don't have to call a play," said Forks coach Kelsey Green.

All five passes were picked off in Forks territory, three in the end zone and another at about the 5-yard line, and spoiled an otherwise effective night from Mullins (18-for-32, 191 yards).

"Matt made a ton of good plays," CV coach Jay Hope said. "I think if you throw it enough against a good defense, they're going to get their chances, too."

He added, "I felt like he played well, just made a couple bad mistakes. Also, with the type of attack we were trying to utilize tonight, we got to a shorter field and the space became a little more cramped down there."

The first pick was by Reynolds, who grabbed a football intended for Matt Fedish in the middle of the end zone with 3 1-2 minutes expired.

"He just made a great play of the football," Forks coach Kelsey Green said. "The (receiver) was there, good throw, Jake turned and saw it, and in a split-second had it. That's just understanding the defense that we're playing. You've just got to have those kinds of kids."

CV's second possession ended with Stephens intercepting a third-and-10 pass. The remaining three came in the final quarter.

Reynolds said: "There were a lot of contributing factors. Our preppie team had us prepared, the coaches told us what patterns they were going to run out of what formations. We knew what they were going to do, we got out there and we did our jobs. And also, we got pressure on the quarterback. It's hard to throw on the run."

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Photo credits - None

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 6 8 0 7 - 21
Chenango Valley 0 0 0 7 - 7
  • CF - Joe Aston 63 run. (Kick failed)
  • CF - Jake Reynolds 8 run. (Reynolds run)
  • CF - Garret Cade 52 interception return. (Rob Lumsden kick)
  • CV - Matt Fedish 67 punt return. (Michael Biviano kick)


First Downs 14 10
Rushes-Yards 22-70 47-245
Passing Yards 191 29
Comp-Att-Int 18-32-5 1-5-1
Total Offense 54-261 52-274
Punts-Ave yards 3-33.3 6-30.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 3-32 7-64


Chenango Valley rushing

  • Trevor Cola 12-47
  • James Sodan 3-14
  • Justin Iams 5-10
  • Matt Fedish 1-8
  • Matt Mullins 1-(-9)

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Joe Aston 14-135, 1 TD
  • Jake Reynolds 14-52, 1 TD
  • Tim Zdimal 10-35
  • Nick Stephens 8-22
  • Ryan Freije 1-1

Chenango Valley passing

  • Matt Mullins 18-for-32, 191y, 5 int.

Chenango Forks passing

  • Jake Reynolds 1-for-5, 29y, 1 int.

Chenango Valley receiving

  • Josh Pratt 5-55
  • Trevor Cola 3-51
  • Brian Eggleston 5-48
  • Justin Iams 1-15
  • James Sodan 2-13
  • Matt Fedish 2-9

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • Garret Cade 1-29

Preview Article

Lots more at stake in football rematch between Chenango Forks, CV

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

David Garbarino, Section 4 football co-chairman from Binghamton, made a point early this week to spread the word regarding advance ticket sales for Friday night's Class B title game at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.

"Given the numbers they've drawn in the past, it just makes it easier," Garbarino said of the decision. "Or else, there'd be people out in the road until halftime."

Why all the fuss?

Second-ranked Chenango Forks versus seventh-ranked Chenango Valley, with a berth in the following weekend's quarterfinal round of state playoffs at stake. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The teams have the stage to themselves, as the remaining four class championship games are to be played Saturday-- which spells neutral spectators aplenty flocking to Binghamton's East Side.

A Chenango Valley victory would mean:

* A program other than Forks representing Section 4 in Class B state playoffs for the first time since 2000.

* The end of a 30-game streak of Blue Devils victories against Broome County opposition.

* A 12-game streak of Section 4 playoff victories for Forks will have been snapped.

* The Warriors' first defeat of Forks since 1994.

When the teams met five weekends back on Forks' field, an estimated crowd of 5,000 or so was in attendance for a 20-14 Blue Devils triumph that required a Jake Reynolds-to-Garet Cade touchdown pass with 22.3 seconds remaining.

"When you get by a team in the last seconds, make a couple of plays to even give yourself a chance to get by them in the last seconds ... We'll have our hands absolutely as full as can be," Blue Devils coach Kelsey Green said.

Thirteen consecutive Forks-CV football outcomes have gone the way of the Blue Devils.

The average score in the series from 2002 through 2005 was a yawn-invoking 39 1/2-4. The last two, however, came down to a game-turning TD in the final minute-- Joe Aston's 5-yard rush with 55.7 seconds left deciding a 14-9 ballgame last season at CV.

Each team passed without incident through the semifinal round, picking up convincing victories against Division VI members. For Forks, it was a 34-0 rout of an Owego squad that mustered 40 rushing yards. Chenango Valley scored the game's final four TDs in a 26-7 victory at Waverly.

"That first game took a lot out of both teams,'' Green said. "Now I think both teams are back going again, back on track.

"As far as I know, we're reasonably healthy, and I didn't see any of their kids walk off (Friday night), so, that's all you can ask for after nine games."

In the teams' Sept. 29 clash, Forks succeeded in bottling up CV dynamo Trevor Cola, limiting him to a season-low 45 rushing yards. That defensive effort figures to be difficult to duplicate, particularly given the user-friendly artificial surface coupled with the shifty and elusive style of advancing the football employed by Cola.

"We have a lot of (contributors) on offense," said Cola, who averages 8.6 yards per touch of the football on offense. "Hopefully, other guys will get big plays and big gains and that'll free me up."

He added, "We need to pick apart their defense. At every spot, they've got an aggressive player. It's a very well-coached defense, and everyone knows what to do."

Especially effective last weekend against Owego was the Blue Devils' defensive front, illustrated by the team's four first-half quarterback sacks. Similar pressure Friday would come in handy against CV quarterback Matt Mullins, whose 44 completions this season have gone for a 19.7-yard average gain.

Forks has scored at a 32.7-per-game clip over its last three games, up a shade over a dozen from the first six. Joe Aston heads Blue Devils rushers with 771 yards, and has 122 or more three of the last four outings.

The Forks-CV survivor will take on the winner of Saturday's Section 3 final pitting third-ranked Cazenovia (9-0) against fourth-ranked Westhill (9-0). That state quarterfinal contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.

"It's going to be a battle, that's all there is to it," said Forks nose guard Aaron Phelps of Friday's contest. "It's going to be a good game. Come see it."

Post-game Article:    

Fifth Quarter:

Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

Plenty of credit to go around in Forks' victory
Blue Devils give practice team high marks

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

Chenango Forks' 21-7 victory over Chenango Valley for Section 4's Class B championship marked the fourth game this season the Blue Devils' defense didn't allow a point.

The most recent defensive gem featured five pass interceptions -- halting CV's first two and last three possessions -- all in Forks territory Friday night at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.

Jake Reynolds was responsible for the first pick, which ended a 61-yard opening drive for the Warriors that reached the Devils' 12-yard line.

"There were a lot of contributing factors," Reynolds said. "Our preppie team had us prepared, and the coaches told us what patterns they were going to run out of what formations. We knew what they were going to do, we got out there and we did our jobs.

"And also, we got pressure on the quarterback. It's hard to throw on the run."

Tim Zdimal, who intercepted a pass on CV's final offensive play, likewise attributed the picks to work done on the practice field.

"Our preppie offense, they ran their plays during practice," he said. "We practice against it all week and come game time, we knew what to do."

Kelsey Green credited the efforts of his assistant coaches.

"Chick (Dave Chickanosky) and David Hogan and John Petley just do such a terrific job of getting those guys ready to play every week," he said.

Chenango Valley (8-2) was playing a 10th week of football for the first time since finishing the 1994 season as sectional runner-up to Elmira Free Academy.

Reynolds was asked how much the been-there, done-that factor may have played into Forks' seventh consecutive Section 4 championship.

"It's a big factor," he said. "The coaches have been there before and some of the seniors have been there before. Experience helps. Experience is a big key in a big game like this, and it showed."

The Warriors opted for a game plan Friday night that spread the offense and emphasized the passing game. Brian Stinson, who gained a game-high 56 rushing yards and the lone rushing TD in a 20-14 regular-season loss to Forks, did not carry the ball.

"In our shotgun sets, we utilize our other back, James Sodan, because it's more of a halfback position than it is a fullback position," CV coach Jay Hope said. "Not that we didn't run him on purpose or he was hurt, it was because we were in our spread sets rather than our double-tight sets."



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