2008 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 7 vs Chenango Valley
Blue Devils rule the valley yet again 23-13
Fifteenth straight win over the Warriors

Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press 

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Forks wears down CV
Running game, stingy defense lift Blue Devils
By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
TOWN OF FENTON -- Make it 15 victories in succession for Chenango Forks over Chenango Valley in this football rivalry that has been tilted Forks' way from 1995 to the present.
Ah, but a new twist was introduced Saturday afternoon at CV: It was the Blond Devils of Chenango Forks extending the streak with a 23-13 win that had Forks Football stamped all over it.
Team-wide dye jobs notwithstanding, this was old-school Forks football -- zero passes thrown; a running game that patiently ground out yardage, just waiting for the big one to pop; and defense that let in a single TD.
Quarterback D.J. Smith's 40-yard quarterback keeper for a score 2:49 into the final quarter -- four plays after a crushing giveaway by CV -- and Dan Grady's PAT kick made it a 23-6 ballgame.
A bit of drama was sprinkled back in when Ricky Ruffo dashed 87 yards on the ensuing kickoff for a TD. But Donnie Fry's kick marked the final point in a game locked up for good when Forks' Mike Jeske intercepted a second-down pass at his team's 9-yard line and returned 22 yards with two minutes to play and CV out of timeouts.
The outcome left 10th-ranked Forks a 6-1 record that includes 2-1 within Division III of the Section 4 Football Conference. A win next week at Windsor would earn the Blue Devils the division's top seed for Class B playoffs; a loss could prevent them from advancing.
Chenango Valley (3-4) fell from playoff contention with a 1-3 division record.
"Our Time," as was painted onto the grassy hillside adjacent to the playing field, was not to be for the Warriors.
"We started off slow but eventually got better," said Smith, who shares time behind center with Rickey Bronson, each for a possession at a time. Smith's game-leading 96 rushing yards reflected the TD run as well as an early 42-yard gain that led to Grady's 30-yard field goal for the first points of the contest.
"We just hung together and played as a team throughout," said David Hogan, experiencing his first Forks-Valley game as Blue Devils head coach.
Chenango Valley took its only lead midway through the second quarter when southpaw Rocco Testani -- 10-for-21 for 102 yards on the day -- drifted left and delivered a bull's-eye pass to Josh Klepfer behind a defender in the left side of the end zone to make it 6-3.
The result of the subsequent kickoff left Forks in prime possession at CV's 41-yard line.
Tim Zdimal fielded the kick and returned to the Devils' 44-yard line -- where he was run out of bounds. A CV cover man made contact across the boundary line, though with obvious intent to minimize said contact. A penalty was assessed for a personal foul, to the vocal chagrin of those with CV leanings.
Forks went on to nickel-and-dime its way down the field. A 19-yard rush by Zdimal -- shut down when Cameron Fedish made a saving shirt tackle -- was the exception on a drive that brought 2.1 yards per play on the remaining nine.
Points came when Zdimal powered over the left side with 1:08 left in the half, and Grady's kick made it 10-6.
CV's first two second-half possessions, each begun with a false-start penalty, went three-and-out. The Blue Devils' next scoring drive started 4:39 into the third quarter, lasted 3:20 and brought a 5-yard touchdown rush by Ryan Freije for a 16-6 advantage.
On the scoring run, Freije shouldered his way past a tackler near the line of scrimmage, a recurring theme Saturday that certainly factored into CV's downfall. On numerous occasions, at least one CV defender had opportunity to fell a ball carrier near or even behind the line of scrimmage, only to lose control.
"We missed some tackles in some key situations, but that's a tribute to their athletes, too," CV coach Jay Hope said.
The clinching sequence took place early in the fourth quarter. The Warriors' Cam Moochler lost control of the football when hit on a sweep play toward Forks' sideline, and the Blue Devils took over at their 49.
One play after he'd rushed 6 yards for a first down to CV's 40, Smith kept again, and the result put away realistic hopes of a streak-buster. He ran through a shirt-tackle attempt in the backfield, found substantial room a bit across the line and motored free and clear for the score and 23-6 advantage.
The play had been designed to head right. However, Smith said, "They started shifting everyone, so I made to make a flip call. I flipped it, made my read and busted through the line."
Ruffo's kickoff-return response was a beauty of a zigzagging effort on which he won a closing footrace up the guests' sideline.
"I felt we had a chance to put them away there at the end, get a nice kickoff when we were up by (23-6). But we kicked off, they turned it into a touchdown and, here we go again. But the kids hung tough."
As for the shocking blonde dye jobs, which became the Devils' look during the week, defensive end Jesse Villella said simply, "Last year we did the Mohawks. This year we decided to do something a little bit different."

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 3 7 6 7 - 23
Chenango Valley 0 6 0 7 - 13
  • CF - Dan Grady 30 FG
  • CV - Josh Klepfer 12 pass from Rocco Testani (kick failed)
  • CF - Tim Zdimal 1 run (Grady kick)
  • CF - Ryan Freije 5 run (kick failed)
  • CF - D.J. Smith 40 run (Grady kick)
  • CV - Ricky Ruffo 87 kickoff return (Donnie Fry kick)


First Downs 11 10
Rushes-Yards 33-85 42-222
Passing Yards 109 0
Comp-Att-Int 11-22-1 0-0-0
Total Offense 55-194 42-222
Punts-Ave yards 2-30.5 4-32.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-28 2-10


Chenango Valley rushing

  • Brian Stinson 7-21
  • Devin Carroll 8-19
  • Ruffo 3-17
  • Testani 6-15
  • Matt Meddleton 5-9
  • Cam Moochler 5-5

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Smith 6-96, 1 TD
  • Zdimal 8-49, 1 TD
  • Shane Baron 13-34
  • Tyler Lusht 5-24
  • Freije 7-16, 1 TD
  • Rickey Bronson 3-3

Chenango Valley passing

  • Testani 10-for-21, 102 yards, 1 TD, 1 int.
  • Ruffo 1-for-1, 7 yards, 0 int.

Chenango Forks passing

  • none

Chenango Valley receiving

  • Anthony Morse 5-64
  • Klepfer 4-25, 1 TD
  • Meddleton 1-7
  • Pratt 1-7
  • Stinson 1-6

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • none

JV Score: ?

Preview Article: 

Playoffs, not streak, focus for Forks, CV

Warriors can't afford another loss in division

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin 

Chenango Forks will puts its well-chronicled football win streak against Chenango Valley on the line beginning 1:30 this afternoon when the rivals collide on CV's field for a game with significant playoff implications.
Forks, 5-1 and ranked 10th among New York's Class B teams, is 1-1 in muddled Division III of the Section 4 Football Conference. Chenango Valley (3-3) is 1-2 within the division and can ill-afford a third setback.
And it is that scenario, rather than the last 14 games worth of Blue Devil supremacy in this series, on which the respective sides choose to focus.
"Obviously, Forks week is a big week every year for us," Warriors coach Jay Hope said. "This year, it has divisional implications as far as who goes to the playoffs and who goes home. Along with the Forks-Valley rivalry, it's all about the division, too."
As for Chenango Forks vs. Chenango Valley of late, the Blue Devils' 21-7 win over CV in last season's Section 4 Class B title game was the program's 14th in succession over the Warriors. Not since a 14-13 CV win in 1994 have the Warriors gotten the better of their neighbors.
Of course, Chenango Valley has company: Forks has strung 31 consecutive victories against Broome County opposition.
Both sides have shown improvement as the season has progressed, each pointing to offensive-line play among most significant contributing factors.
"We're trying not to look at (the streak)," Forks coach David Hogan said. "It's so simple here, we just talk about getting better. And I think we've done that the last couple weeks in a lot of areas."
Following a Week 4 loss to Oneonta, the Blue Devils improved upon their previous season-high scoring outputs each of the next two games. Most recently came a 34-20 win at Owego in which Shane Baron rushed for 169 yards -- the 2008 Devils' single-game individual best.
One key to success today, Baron said, "Just don't let the outside distractions get to us. Keep our minds straight and focus on the game."
Chenango Valley was a 25-8 winner eight days ago at Oneonta, a game Warriors followers consider the team's best outing of the year. It marked the first time this season a CV opponent was limited to a single-digit scoring output, and the touchdown came on a 57-yard Oneonta run in the fourth quarter.
Devin Carroll -- leading CV rusher with 68 1/2 yards per game -- scored two TDs in that one, and Cam Moochler and Josh Pratt one apiece.
"I think they played their best game last week, and I think they'd probably tell you that," Hogan said of the Warriors. "We know we're going to have our hands full, but we're kind of used to that. That's kind of the way it's been every week this year."
Keys to the game, from a Forks perspective:
"We've just got to keep running the ball, don't stop, keep the intensity up -- just beat them physically and mentally, keep our game sharp," lineman Nolan Haycook said.
"We have to stop their offense. They can strike at any time," fullback/linebacker Baron said.
As for CV's mission: "We've got to get off the ball, get into their linemen and make good tackles," Warriors linebacker Matt Meddleton said.
Of course, that will have to be accomplished in an atmosphere unlike any either side experiences outside rivalry week.
"It's crazy," Meddleton said, "you can't here anything out there. It's a lot different. It's awesome."
"Every Forks week every season is a different week than a normal game," Warriors fullback/linebacker and leading tackler Brian Stinson said. " ... I don't think there's anything around here like it."
Forks, which has yet to surrender a fourth-quarter point this season, closes its regular season a week from today at home against a Windsor squad that presently leads Division III with a 2-0 record. Chenango Valley wraps it up next Saturday with a home-field non-leaguer against Ithaca.

Post-game Article:    

Fifth Quarter:
Published Tuesday mornings

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin staff reports -

Forks' stout defense forced Chenango Valley to try Plan B

Chenango Forks remained in the chase for the top playoff seed from Section 4 Football Conference's Division III with Saturday's 23-13 win at Chenango Valley, sound defense once again contributing significantly.
The Blue Devils punched in a touchdown 1:22 before halftime which, along with Dan Grady's PAT kick, made for a 10-6 advantage.
Forks proceeded to force CV three-and-out on the Warriors' first two second-half possessions, took possession after CV's second punt of the quarter 47 yards from the goal line, and went the distance in seven plays for a 16-6 lead.
Thereafter, the Devils snuffed out CV possessions by forcing a fumble and recovering near midfield, holding on fourth-and-6 from their 41, and intercepting a pass deep in their territory with two minutes remaining, Mike Jeske doing the honors on the latter.
"Our ends kept contain if the guy went outside, our front line was keeping it right up the middle and the linebackers, whenever they saw a pull or something, they were stepping up and getting the guy they needed to get," was how senior end Jesse Villella broke it down.
Chenango Valley quarterback Rocco Testani completed all of his four first-half passes, as well as his first throw of the second half. But from that point on, CV connected on six of 17 attempts.
"In the first half, that was probably more what we were trying to accomplish, because we were able to be effective with the run enough that it allowed us to be effective with our play-action passing," CV coach Jay Hope said. "Second half, we were dictated a little bit -- Forks can do that. But we worked pretty heavily on it this week because we knew Forks is always tough to run on and you've got to have a Plan B.
"Our Plan A was to try to go in and dictate the tempo with our run, use some of our bigger backs, which I thought we did effectively in the first half."
The outcome extended Forks' win streak against CV to 15 games.
"We did what they needed to do," Villella said. "Every year, they think they're going to take us down, and every year we show them different."
The Blue Devils, however, are not guaranteed a postseason berth. Should they lose to Windsor on Saturday, and Oneonta defeats Norwich on Friday, then the seeds from Division III would be 1-Windsor and 2-Oneonta for the Class B playoffs.
Forks' players chose to dye their hair blonde for the rivalry game -- but their head coach was not about to join in.
"They almost talked me into a Mohawk one year if we won a championship, but they're not going to talk me into that, not in a million years -- especially after taking a look at some of those guys," coach David Hogan said.


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