Forks ends East's
By Bob Benz
The Corning Leader
CORNING | This time, the
first quarter was not the issue for
After being outscored
22-0 in the opening quarter of their
first two games, the Trojans jumped out
to a 6-0 lead by scoring on their second
possession, while limiting Chenango
Forks to just one first down and 18
yards of total offense through 12
minutes of play.
However, two turnovers,
45 yards worth of penalties and a
generally ineffective second-half
offense proved too much for East to
overcome in a 15-12 loss to Chenango
Forks Friday under a steady rain at
"The perfect game keeps
eluding us," East head coach Tim Hughes
said. "But I was pleased with how
physical we played."
The loss ended a 15-game
winning streak for the Trojans, marking
their first loss since falling in the
state semifinal round in 2005. It was
also East's first regular season loss
If that wasn't enough,
time and downs unceremoniously ran out
on East during the team's last-gasp
drive, which also proved to be its most
sustained offensive possession of the
Despite a drive start at
their own 9 and just 3:09 showing in the
fourth quarter, the Trojans patiently
moved the ball inside Chenango Forks
territory with less than a minute to
play. East used it final timeout with
41.1 seconds left, while facing a
second-and-5 at the Forks 38.
Quarterback Matt Pierotti
called his own number on back-to-back
plays, gaining three yards on second
down and just one yard on third down,
leaving the Trojans with
4th-and-less-than-a-yard as the clock
ticked below 15 seconds.
However, when the clock
stopped with roughly 13 seconds showing
on fourth down following Pierotti's
third-down run, the Trojans thought they
had picked up the first down, prompting
Pierotti to spike the ball, which
actually turned the ball over on downs.
"Usually, they stop the
clock when they have a first down, so we
were pretty upset about that," East
fullback Dane Blodgett said of the
confusion that cost the Trojans' a final
desperation chance to either tie or win
the game. "(The officials) gave us no
"The loss does not boil
down to that very play," Hughes said. "I
refuse to let ourselves believe that.
That's on us. But I never envisioned the
game coming down to us spiking the ball
on fourth down."
Although the finish was
upsetting for the Trojans, they were put
in that desperation position as a result
of Chenango Forks' dominating defense.
Until East's final drive, which netted
three first downs and covered 57 yards,
the Trojans were limited to just 19
yards and three first downs for the
remainder of the second half.
"We struggled on offense
in the second half and it's hard to move
the ball on those guys," Hughes said.
While the 12-7 lead East
held at halftime remained when the
fourth quarter began, the Blue Devils
used a nine-play, 54-yard drive to pick
up what proved to be the game-winning
touchdown. Tim Zdimal scooted in off
left guard for a four-yard touchdown run
with 7:02 to play in the fourth to put
Forks ahead. The Blue Devils made it a
three-point game when Jake Reynolds
connected with a wide-open Clint Cade
for the two-point conversion.
East amended previous
slow starts by taking its first
first-quarter lead of the season when
Chris Parrillo took a counter handoff
and broke free for a brilliant 39-yard
touchdown run, shaking free of would-be
tacklers on his way to the end zone.
Although Forks went ahead
7-6 on Reynolds' 13-yard touchdown run,
East struck just before halftime to take
Blodgett set up the score
with an interception of Reynolds and
32-yard return of the pick to the Forks
36 with just 28.1 seconds left in the
first half. Two plays after Blodgett
ripped off an 18-yard gain on first
down, Pierotti improvised on a fumbled
snap and went in on a 12-yard touchdown
run with just 5.6 seconds left in the
Blodgett led the Trojans
on the ground with 86 yards on 18
carries. Pierotti finished with 59 yards
rushing on 15 attempts, while Parrillo
amassed 53 yards on the ground.
East (2-1) will play at
Elmira Free Academy at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday. Chenango Forks improved to 3-0
with the win.