2008 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 3 vs Chittenango
Blue Devils survive some really scary Chitt 7-3!
Late TD gives CF the win


Articles courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin & Syracuse Post-Standard

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Forks escapes from tight spot

Freije recovers teammate's fumble, runs for winning TD

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

CHITTENANGO -- Chenango Forks' nothing-happening offense turned a blunder into the difference-making points Friday night for a you've-gotta-be-kidding 7-3 non-conference football victory over Chittenango.

Man of the Hour Ryan Freije scooped up a teammate's fumble on a second-down play from Chittenango's 30-yard line and somehow, some way, emerged from a scrum near the hosts' sideline and carried the football across the goal line with five minutes to play in a ballgame ruled by the defenses.

Following the touchdown, Forks forced Chittenango into its fourth three-and-out possession of the night, only to give back the football on a fumble near midfield with 1:47 remaining.

The Bears reached Forks' 13-yard line on two pass completions before Mike Jeske clinched his team's third consecutive victory by intercepting Jon Stevens' 18th and final pass in the end zone with 64 seconds to play.


D.J. Smith and Tim Zdimal also intercepted passes, and Forks teammate Jesse Vilella was a Chittenango nemesis all over the field from opening kick to final whistle from his end position.
"The positive thing is, we're still coming out with the win," Blue Devils coach David Hogan said. "We're 3-0, so we're very happy about that."
They are 3-0 because of Grade-A defense, and thanks to one bit of highly unlikely good fortune.
The play call on second-and-4 from the Bears' 30-yard line was mid-line option right. Quarterback Smith accepted the snap and ... well ... let the central figures take it from there.
Smith: "Me and my fullback weren't really in sync, I was trying to pull (the football) and he was trying to take. The ball ended up on the ground. I went back to get it and I saw Freije pick it up and run with it."
Freije: "On that play, I'm supposed to come in motion, as a pitch man or a safety valve, the ball came out. I picked it up and saw the opening. I broke a couple tackles, but it was the blocks that got me there."
Smith: "He got hit right next to the sideline. ... Two guys hit him and ... I don't know what he did; I thought he was done right there."
Instead, after it appeared Freije's momentum had been halted ... "I saw him stumble, and I saw everybody stop, and then I saw this white shirt just continue down the sideline," Hogan said of what he saw transpire clear across the field. "I said, 'Oh my gosh, he's not down yet.'
"Hey, however we can score."
That break of a TD erased a deficit created when Chittenango's Zach Drake converted a 34-yard field goal 3:37 into the third quarter after Blue Devils punter Dan Grady was hung out to dry and harried into a minus-1-yard punt that set up the Bears at Forks' 19-yard line.
The Blue Devils' next three possessions ended in punts, last of which gave Chittenango the football at its 20 with 7:26 remaining. And, as it had the night long, the Devils' defense responded in fine form.
On second down, Baron sacked Stevens for a 2-yard loss. On third down, Jordan Barnett lunged to bat the ball away from Stevens' intended target, forcing a punt from the 27-yard line. The Bears' Nick Boysen was rushed into a hurried, rugby-style punt that went for just 17 yards.
That left Forks in possession at the hosts' 37, and two plays from its winning score.
In the first half, Forks ran 23 plays in Bears territory, only to come away frustrated and empty. The Devils' deepest penetration of the half went to Chittenango's 13.
The Devils' best scoring opportunity went by the boards when Grady misfired left on a 34-yard field goal try 1:06 before halftime.
"Offensively, we're not clicking yet, but we'll definitely get better," Freije said.
But, as it had the first two weekends of the season, the Devils' defense held up its end.
One of Vilella's most visible contributions was recovery of a fumble and ensuing advancement to Chittenango's 25-yard line with time wasting in the first half. The offense netted 2 yards on three plays and, after the Bears jumped offside, Grady's field goal attempt was off the mark.
That Chittenango was limited to the field goal in the third quarter was due in part to Grady and Andy Lewis teaming on a quarterback sack on first down of that possession, and Grady's tip of Stevens' pass at the line on third down.
The final stats indeed suggest a night of defensive football: Forks closed with 155 yards of offense, Chittenango with 89. Bears quarterback Stevens was 7-for-18 with the three interceptions.
"Our defense was very, very strong," Smith said. "What'd they get, only one series in the red zone?"

Press Football Beat Sportswriters Blog entry on game:

Forks 3 for 3

Back from Chittenango, home of the soon-to-be hearing impaired. (Those present to hear what passes for music at the stadium and the volume at which it blares get my drift). Anyway ...
Forks 7, Chittenango 3-- and it was a night for man's football. This was far from art, but it was a hell of a game.

A batch of Forks defenders will look awfully good come film study, senior end Jesse Villella high up on the list. 

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 0 0 0 7 - 07
Chittenango 0 0 3 0 - 3
  • C - Zach Drake 34 FG
  • CF - Ryan Freije 30 run (Dan Grady kick)


First Downs 5 6
Rushes-Yards 24-35 46-147
Passing Yards 54 8
Comp-Att-Int 7-18-3 1-6-0
Total Offense 42-89 52-155
Punts-Ave yards 7-28.3 6-25.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 2-13 4-20


Chittenango rushing

  • Kyle Mills 18-45
  • Dylan Furco 2-9
  • Adam Moth 1-(-1)
  • Jon Stevens 2-(-20)

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Shane Baron 16-54
  • Rickey Bronson 9-32
  • Jim Miller 8-35
  • Ryan Freije 5-25
  • Tim Zdimal 2-2
  • DJ Smith 6-(-1)

Chittenango passing

  • Stevens 7-for-18 54 yard, 3int

Chenango Forks passing

  • Smith 1-for-3, 8 yds
  • Bronson 0-for-3

Chittenango receiving

  • Jakob Bicknell 2-32
  • Nick Boysen 1-12
  • Moth 3-5
  • Mills 1-5

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • Kevin Hamilton 1-8

JV Score: ?

Preview Tidbit: 

CF/Chittenango snippet from the overall weekend football preview article.

From staff reports
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin 

Forks to face never-say-die Chittenango

Chenango Forks hits the road after back-to-back home victories, bound for Chittenango and a non-league football game against a pack of Bears off to a 2-0 start.
Chittenango, down this season to Class B from Class A, has rallied from two-touchdown deficits each of the first two weeks on the road. Last week, a pair of Jon Stevens-to-Andy Moth scoring passes drew the Bears within a point in the fourth quarter before Jake Bicknell ran for a two-point conversion -- having bobbled the snap as the holder for an intended kick -- to seal a 29-28 victory at Homer.
Forks remains in search of some offensive consistency to go with a defense that has surrendered a combined nine points.
Syracuse Post-Standard preview -

Chenango Forks (2-0) at Chittenango (2-0)
When: 7 p.m. today

Chenango Forks key players: Rickey Bronson, QB-DB; Mike Jeske, WR-DB; Shane Baron, RB-LB; D.J. Smith, QB-DB; Ron Freije, RB-LB.

Chittenango key players: Jon Stevens, QB; Andy Moth, WR-LB; Justin Pistello, RB-LB; Kyle Mills, RB-LB; Nick Boysen, TE-LB.

The skinny: Chenango Forks, No. 2 in the state and owners of seven straight Section IV Class B crowns, has terrorized Section III in post-season play for years. Just ask Cazenovia. A veteran Chittenango club is also state-ranked at No. 16 and is eyeing a milestone season after dropping down from Class A to Class B. Beating state runner-up Chenango Forks is a formidable task, however.

Kerr's pick: Chenango Forks 27, Chittenango 13

Post-game Article:    

Fifth Quarter:

Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

By Kevin Stevens

Defense stout, but Chenango Forks struggling to gel offensively

A troublesome pattern continued into a third weekend of football for Chenango Forks, winner by 7-3 Friday night at Chittenango.
The Blue Devils have won their first three despite averaging a scant nine points per game.
Nine other Section 4 football teams have 3-0 records; the per-game scoring average of those nine is 32.1.
"It was an ugly game, we just weren't meshing," said Forks senior Ryan Freije, producer of a fourth-quarter touchdown. "We wanted a big step-up game, and we didn't have it this week."
"If you'd have asked me this morning, I'd have said both teams would be scoring," Blue Devils coach David Hogan said. "Maybe I was misled because of what happened last week with their game, a very high scoring affair. But defensively, you just can't say enough about us defensively."
Forks on two second-quarter occasions nearly set up the offense for stellar scoring opportunities, only to have Chittenango find an escape hatch.
With 23 seconds to play in a scoreless first half, the Bears' Nick Boysen went airborne to accept a snap in punt formation. He initially mishandled the football but, after it fell to the ground, regained possession and ventured right for a rugby-style kick that left Forks at the hosts' 48-yard line -- and quarterback D.J. Smith dropped to a knee on first down.
One Chittenango possession before, Bears quarterback Jon Stevens fumbled the snap from center and, under heavy pursuit, retreated 20 or so yards before unleashing a pass that fell harmlessly incomplete.
One play later, Forks end Jesse Villella recovered a fumble and returned the ball to the hosts' 25-yard line -- only to have his team miss on a field goal try 66 seconds before halftime.
That was one of numerous big-time defensive plays by Villella.
"There's no question, he came to play and he was all over the place," Hogan said of Villella. "It was a very strong football game from him."




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