Chenango Forks Varsity Football
6 vs Norwich
Blue Devils defeat
Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press &
Place mouse over photos to
Photo credits - none
Aston provides cure for
Back scores twice in win over Norwich
By Brian Moritz
Press & Sun-Bulletin
TOWN OF CHENANGO
-- The mood in the Chenango Forks
post-game huddle was almost somber.
Phrases like "back to the drawing
board" and "we've just got to work
harder" were uttered by players and
coaches following Saturday
This from a team that remained
undefeated with a hard-fought 14-6
home victory over Norwich at Blue
"Yeah, the score was 14-6, but I
think for a lot of the game, Norwich
outplayed us," Forks coach Kelsey
Green said. "That's what we're not
A week after an emotional,
come-from-behind victory over
archrival Chenango Valley, the Blue
Devils (6-0, 3-0) needed to overcome
their malaise and Norwich's strong
play to remain undefeated.
Forks also needed 131 yards and two
touchdowns from senior running back
Joe Aston to erase an early 6-0
deficit. Aston's first touchdown and
the ensuing extra point gave Forks
the lead. His second gave the Blue
Devils some breathing room.
But it was the Blue Devils' defense
that held Norwich (3-3, 1-2)
scoreless on three trips inside the
Forks 20-yard line that sealed the
"We know we can play better than
this," Aston said.
Green could sense something was off
with his team all week. He could
tell that, collectively, their heads
were still celebrating the previous
week's last-minute victory over CV
instead of focusing on Norwich.
"We have a lot of young players,"
said Aston, one of 18 Forks seniors
who were honored in a pre-game
ceremony. "After a huge win like
last week, it can be tough to get as
amped up for a game like this. We
needed to work harder."
The Purple Tornado took advantage by
playing strong, excellent football
on both sides of the ball. Norwich's
front line dominated play early on,
and running back Chris Mattingly (87
yards) repeatedly broke several
tacklers on his runs.
Norwich drove deep into Forks
territory on its first two
possessions. On the second drive,
quarterback Nate Foote hit Christian
Hotailing on a 6-yard scoring pass
to give Norwich a 6-0 second-quarter
"I don't want to take anything away
from Norwich," Green said. "Norwich
did what you're supposed to do. They
came out and played extremely well.
We did not do that."
The Blue Devils finally got going
midway through the second quarter,
and they were sparked by Aston. On a
third-down sweep, Aston broke one
tackle in the backfield, and then
slipped through two more before
racing 23 yards for the touchdown.
Rob Lumsden's extra point gave the
Blue Devils a 7-6 lead which they
held at halftime.
The third quarter was scoreless, as
both teams batted for yards and
"We've got a good offensive line,"
Norwich coach John Pluta said. "We
were able to move the ball the whole
game. We're not going to come down
here and trick them, and they're not
going to trick us."
Norwich had a great scoring chance
at the end of the third quarter,
driving to the Forks 5-yard line.
But on second down, the Purple
Tornado was penalized for an illegal
block in the back. The 10-yard
penalty from the spot of the foul --
which was 12 yards behind the
original line of scrimmage --killed
Norwich's scoring chances, and the
Purple Tornado missed a 37-yard
Forks took the ensuing drive 80
yards down the field, with Aston
scoring from 5-yards out to make it
14-6 with the PAT.
"For about a minute, I thought we
were fine," Green said. "Then boom,
they were right back on the
Aided by 25 yards in Forks
penalties, Norwich drove to the
Forks 12. But once again, the Purple
Tornado couldn't put points on the
board, as Foote's fourth-down pass
to Mattingly fell incomplete.
"We needed to score in those
situations, and that didn't happen,"
Pluta said. "That was the
Blue Devils hold on to beat
By Patrick Newel
Chenango Evening Sun
CHENANGO FORKS No, Chenango
Forks is not its typically dominant self in
2007. Still, this group of Blue Devils has
found the same winning formula as its
predecessors improving to 6-0 with a
tough-to-the-end 14-6 victory over Norwich
It was the third time this
season Forks has been pressed deep into the
game, and if not for an ill-timed Norwich
penalty late in the third quarter, may have
needed yet another fourth-quarter comeback
Norwich gathered possession
at the 28 after Forks' Garrett Cade fumbled
a punt return, leading to Paddy Law's
recovery for the Tornado. A first-down run
by Chris Mattingly and then an 11-yard pass
from Nate Foote to Mike Moon had the Tornado
first-and-goal at the five. A first-down run
went nowhere, and Norwich was whistled for
an illegal block, spot-foul penalty on the
next play that moved it back 21 yards. The
Tornado did not recover and missed a
go-ahead 37-yard field goal attempt.
Dodging that bullet, the Blue
Devils responded as any championship team
would: It marched for a touchdown getting
big first-down runs from Joe Aston and Jake
Reynolds. Aston scored his second TD of the
game from five yards out for the eight-point
Answering that score, Norwich
trekked down the field inside the Blue
Devils' 20-yard-line for the second straight
time and fourth time overall in the contest.
Two short runs and two incomplete passes
ended the Tornado excursion, and Forks ran
for three first downs killing the remaining
The Tornado unveiled a much
more wide-open offense using the passing
game to put the Blue Devils defense on their
heels. A first-quarter drive, however,
stalled at the 17, and Jesse Prosser's
34-yard field goal attempt went wide of the
The next possession for
Norwich, Foote had pass completions to Moon
and Prosser, while Mattingly and Foote also
kept the chains moving with first-down runs.
Foote hit wide-open sophomore Christian
Hotaling on a six-yard TD strike just two
plays into the second quarter.
Forks' offense got untracked
two possessions later as Aston finished off
a long drive breaking a tackle behind the
line of scrimmage and scoring from 23 yards
out. A successful point-after kick had the
host club ahead for good.
Mattingly led the Norwich
offense with 17 carries for 86 yards. The
Tornado (3-3) celebrate homecoming weekend
Friday against longtime rival Oneonta.
Place mouse over photos to
Photo credits - None
- N - Christian Hotailing 6 pass from Nate Foote
- CF - Joe Aston 23 run (Rob Lumsden kick)
- CF - Aston 5 run (Lumsden kick)
- Chris Mattingly 17-86
- Mike Moon 9-26
- Nate Foote 7-17
- Jesse Prosser 6-13
- Joe Aston 18-131, 2 TDs
- Jake Reynolds 8-20
- Tim Zdimal 4-18
- Nick Stephens 6-13
- Ryan Freije 1-5
- Nate Foote 6-for-10, 59y, 0 int.
- Jake Reynolds 0-for-2, 0 int.
- Mike Moon 2-19
- Jesse Prosser 1-17
- Tyler Slater 2-17
- Christian Hotaling 1-6, 1 TD
JV Score: Chenango Forks 13, Norwich 7
Binghamton Press article coming later.
By Patrick Newel
Chenango Evening Sun
No Section IV, Class B team has beaten Chenango Forks the past six seasons, although Chenango Valley came as close as anyone the past two seasons. Forks needed a TD pass from Jake Reynolds to Garrett Cade with 22 seconds left in the contest to pull that victory out. It was the second comeback win for Forks this season, who also scored a fourth-quarter TD to beat Corning East, 15-12.
Reynolds leads the offense, and he is bolstered by the running of Joe Aston, Tim Zdimal, and Nick Stephens. Cade offers a large target for Reynolds, and his 6-foot-4 frame allowed him to win a jump ball in the endzone against CV's defensive backs.
Norwich is coming off its best defensive game against the run all season holding Sus Valley to under 75 yards on the ground. The running attack is led by senior Chris Mattingly (510 yards), Mike Moon (280 yards), and Jesse Prosser (238 yards). NHS quarterback Nate Foote has 165 yards rushing and 127 passing including a pair of touchdown passes.
Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Tough loss for Norwich
After the postgame handshake line with Chenango Forks, Norwich players silently gathered around coach John Pluta for a brief talk.
After Pluta was done, a couple players came over to shake their coach's hand. The players and coaches all had the same somber look to them after the tough eight-point loss.
"We thought we had a chance to win this game," Pluta said. "We didn't come down here to keep the game close or just to play well. We came down here to win the game. We did play well, but we didn't quite get it done."
Chenango Forks coach Kelsey Green was also quiet after the game. His team won, but Green felt the Blue Devils didn't play up to par.
"Our tackling was extremely poor," Green said. "They managed to break a lot of tackles. Now, you can attribute part of that to the Norwich backs. They're very tough and ran very well. But we missed a lot of tackles. We'll have to go back to the drawing board this week, and we'll have to play better. We took a step back today, and we'll have to take two steps forward next week to recover."