TOWN OF CHENANGO -- In
need of a victory to secure space in the
postseason for an eighth consecutive
football season, neither rain nor wind
nor Knights of Black were to deny
The Blue Devils put up a
touchdown and a two-point chaser 3
minutes and 15 seconds into the game
Saturday and then turned matters over to
their defense, which excelled to ensure
an 8-0 win over Windsor that earned
Forks the top seed from Division III for
next weekend's Section 4 Class B
Quarterback D.J. Smith
produced the touchdown, rushing 17 yards
on the seventh play from scrimmage, and
holder-turned-runner Rickey Bronson
accounted for what would be the final
points on a rain-drenched, wind-blown
The outcome, in concert
with the goings-on in Division IV, sets
up what appears to be the following
semifinal scenario: Chenango Forks (7-1,
3-1) will play at home Saturday against
Waverly; No. 2 seed Windsor (5-3, 3-1)
will visit Dryden.
That the Blue Devils
accomplished their mission despite being
limited to 167 yards of offense -- 93 of
them on 20 Shane Baron rushes -- and six
first downs was a tribute to a defensive
effort that was ... well ... "Awesome,"
said defensive back Mike Jeske, who made
the first of Forks' three pass
"Amazing," said end Jesse
Villella, whose numerous contributions
included a critical sack for a 10-yard
loss on Windsor's second-to-last
"They played unbelievably
well together," said Blue Devils coach
David Hogan, to whom family bragging
rights belong, for the time being.
Across the field heading Windsor's
charges was Tim Hogan, David's younger
"We talk about it all the
time -- bend but don't break -- and
that's exactly what happened," Hogan
added. "They gave them yardage, big
chunks of yardage, but they came through
in the end."
For instance, there was
Windsor's opening possession of the
second half, which began at its 27-yard
line and reached Forks' 7, before Andy
Lewis felled running back Dylan Kay for
a 1-yard third-down loss, and a play
later an incomplete pass ended the
And there was the Black
Knights' next possession, on which they
drove 22 yards on four plays before
Bronson intercepted a second-down pass
with 52.5 seconds to play in the third
And there was sophomore
lineman Jake DuBois, with assistance
from Villella, stopping quarterback Mark
Murray for no gain on a fourth-and-6
play from the Blue Devils' 48-yard line
with 5:47 remaining in the game.
And, finally, there was
linebacker Ryan Freije rushing in from
the defensive right side to sack Murray
for a 6-yard loss at the Black Knights'
20-yard line with one minute remaining.
All that remained was for
Forks' Bronson to drop twice to one
knee, and the Blue Devils had wrapped up
a home-field semifinal.
"We knew we could move
the ball," Tim Hogan said. "But, you
look at that defense and you try to find
a hole. It's hard to find a hole."
Chenango Forks -- which
did not attempt a pass for the second
consecutive game -- took the football to
begin the game after Windsor won the
coin toss and elected to defer until the
Fullback Baron got the
call on the first play of the contest,
started inside, bounced right toward
Windsor's sideline and picked up 33
yards to the Black Knights' 34. It was
Baron again on third-and-1, gaining 3
yards to the 22.
Two well-defended running
plays set up third-and-5 from the 17.
accepted the snap, faked a handoff to
Baron, found running room around the
right side and polished off a touchdown
that probably few in attendance believed
would be the day's last.
Then again ...
Asked if he had a notion
that an 8-0 advantage could hold, David
Hogan said, "Yeah, but not until
"I felt there was a
possibility, but I did know from
anywhere on the field, they can score,
there's no doubt about that. But I
thought there was a possibility with all
the heavy rain and the wind."
For the two-point
conversion, Bronson, in position to hold
for Dan Grady's PAT kick, instead took
off with an imperfect snap and rushed in
over the right side.
On its second possession
of the game, Windsor ventured 24 yards
to Forks' 32-yard line. But on
third-and-9, Villella sacked Murray for
an 11-yard loss on the final play of the
Another Windsor drive
reached Forks' 43-yard line with aid of
a pass interference penalty. But on
first down and with time-a-wastin'
before halftime, the Blue Devils' Mike
Szymkowicz applied heavy pressure on
Murray to help force a pass that was
intercepted by linebacker Baron.
"We knew coming in this
would be our toughest challenge of the
year, and our preppies just did their
job this week," Jeske said. "They showed
us (Windsor's) offense great, and our
defense just executed."