2009 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 1 vs Groton
Blue Devils blank Groton 21-0!
Win is twelfth straight season opening victory!

Articles courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and the Ithaca Journal

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Forks Blanks Groton 

By Dan Sweeney 
Gannett News Service

GROTON -- Before Friday night's game, Groton's public address announcer couldn't pronounce Chenango Forks tight end and defensive end Mike Szymkowicz's last name.

Halfway through the second quarter, Szymkowicz made sure the public address announcer and the rest of a standing-room only crowd would never forget his name.

Szymkowicz picked off Isaiah Young's swing pass and raced 71 yards for a touchdown to break a scoreless tie, which was all the Blue Devils would need in a 21-0 non-league season-opening victory.

"The running back rolled up field and I just followed him up field like I was supposed to," Szymkowicz said. "I got in the backfield and the ball went right to me."

Forks allowed Groton to stay close in the first half after being penalized six times for 40 yards. After the half, however, the Blue Devils' defense clamped down and allowed Groton only 20 rushing yards after giving up 76 in the first half.

"It was a sloppy start but we sharpened up in the second half," Chenango Forks coach Dave Hogan told his team after the game. "That's something to build on, but obviously we still have a lot of work to do."

Offensively, eight Chenango Forks rushers combined to grind out 264 yards. Ryan Lusht (eight carries, 71 yards) and Jimmy Miller (11 carries, 66 yards) led the Blue Devils' rushing attack and found the end zone.

Miller's 12-yard touchdown scamper capped off an 80-yard drive and put Chenango Forks up by two touchdowns and Lusht's six-yard scoring run up the middle iced it.

After having its seven-year Section 4 Class B title reign end last year to Waverly, Chenango Forks circled Friday's game with Groton on its proverbial calendar a long time ago.

"Everyone was pumped up for this game and (the loss to Waverly) gave us extra motivation to come out here and win," Miller said.

Groton coach Jeff Lewis said Chenango Forks, which dropped down to Class C this season, was exactly what he expected -- a quality program.

"They made good adjustments at halftime and their kids came to play ball," Groton coach Jeff Lewis said. "There's a reason why they've won seven of the past eight sectional titles."

The Ithaca Journal had a very similar article to that above,  with some differences.

Groton grounded by Chenango Forks

By Dan Sweeney 
Ithaca Journal

GROTON -- Chenango Forks ground out 264 yards rushing and its defense pitched a shutout in its season-opening 21-0 victory over Groton on Friday night.

Groton hung with Chenango Forks, winner of seven of the last eight Section 4 Class B titles, for the first half, but the Blue Devils figured out a way to stop Groton's rushing attack after halftime, holding the Indians to 20 second-half yards on the ground.

The game's big play came when Chenango Forks defensive end Mike Szymkowicz got into Groton's backfield and picked off Isaiah Young's swing pass and took it 71 yards for a touchdown to put the Blue Devils up 7-0.

"I was following the running back like I was supposed to," Szymkowicz said. "The ball went to me and I just ran all the way down."

Groton's Ethan Tillebein finished with 73 yards rushing but most of his yardage came on two big plays -- a 39-yard run in the first half and a 29-yard second-half run.

"They made good adjustments at halftime and their kids came to play ball," Groton coach Jeff Lewis said. "They're a good program. There's a reason why they won seven of the past eight sectional titles."

In the third quarter, Groton blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt by Rickey Bronson and it looked like momentum was swinging the Indians' way. But on the ensuing possession, Groton went three and out and Chenango Forks iced the game on its next possession -- an 80-yard drive, capped by Jimmy Miller's 12-yard touchdown run.

After Chenango Forks' D.J. Smith intercepted a pass by Young, the Blue Devils' Ryan Lusht punched in a touchdown with a six-yard run up the middle.

"We'll watch the film to see what we did wrong," Tillebein said. "Then we'll get back and ready to play in our division."

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 0 7 7 7 - 21
Groton 0 0 0 0 - 0
  • CF - Mike Szymkowicz 71 interception return (R. Bronson kick)
  • CF - Jimmy Miller 12 run (Bronson kick)
  • CF - Ryan Lusht 6 run (Bronson kick)


Groton CF
First Downs 4 13
Rushes-Yards 17-96 53-264
Passing Yards 50 0
Comp-Att-Int 5-17-2 0-1-0
Total Offense 34-146 54-264
Punts-Ave yards 4-39.0 3-31.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 5-2
Penalties-Yards 7-31 9-70


Groton rushing

  • Ethan Tillebein 9-73
  • Kyle Reed 4-27
  • Cal Conner 2-4
  • Isaiah Young 3-3
  • Josh Senter 3-(-11)

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Ryan Lusht 8-71
  • Jimmy Miller 11-66
  • Jordan Barnett 10-55
  • DJ Smith 8-28
  • Rickey Bronson 5-11
  • David Hendrickson 1-8
  • Ryan Lamond 4-3
  • Casey LaNave 2-0

Groton passing

  • Senter 3-for-6, 37 yards
  • Young 2-for-11, 2 int, 13 yards

Chenango Forks passing

  • Smith 0-for-1

Groton receiving

  • Conner 1-4
  • Nick Conway 1-29
  • Reed 2-10
  • Senter 1-7

Chenango Forks receiving:  

JV Score: ?

Preview Articles: 

Opening night pits Groton against Section 4 power Forks

By Dan Sweeney
Ithaca Journal 

The spotlight for Friday's high school football opening night will shine no brighter than on Groton's Ross Field.
That's because Chenango Forks, winner of seven of the past eight Section 4 Class B championships, comes to town.
After nearly a decade of dominance in Class B, Chenango Forks moves down to Class C this season, and its first opponent, Groton, is a Class D school. But don't expect Forks to take the Indians lightly, Chenango Forks coach David Hogan said.
"The more I find out about them, the more concerned I am," Hogan said. "They look very, very tough."
Hogan's point of reference is Groton's Aug. 29 scrimmage in Homer where he said the Indians thoroughly dominated their opponents -- Onondaga, Homer and Jordan-Elbridge.
Along with Groton's team speed, Hogan said the 1-2 punch of Kyle Reed and Ethan Tillebein at running back, the Indians' experienced offensive line, and the athleticism of Groton's two quarterbacks -- Isaiah Young and Josh Senter -- all stood out to him. And again Reed, who is one of the finest linebackers in Section 4, impressed him.
"Wow. He's punishing," Hogan said. "That's the first thing. He's aggressive. My word I like to use is that he likes to fire. But, boy, can he find the ball. If he has an opportunity to lay a hit on somebody, he's going to do it."
Last season Waverly ended Chenango Forks' Section 4 Class B reign in overtime, 14-13, in the sectional semifinals. Waverly then went on to win the Class B crown.
Groton, the Class D runner-up from last season, returns a bevy of talented starters and expects to contend for the sectional crown again. Therefore, Groton coach Jeff Lewis keeps repeating the word "opportunity" to his players about Friday's game.
"Everybody that talks about Forks talks about them and Walton being the big game in the 'C's' and the winner of that game probably going on to the states," Lewis said. "So when you're playing a team of that caliber that is regarded that highly by the entire section, that's kind of neat."
Lewis also has seen video of Chenango Forks and its 5-2 defensive formation. Defensive end/tight end Dan Grady, the Blue Devils' speedy backfield and the option quarterback tandem of Rickey Bronson and D.J. Smith are among his worries
"They've got some weapons," Lewis said. "I think the key when you're playing a team like that is discipline.
"It will be huge for us. We can't afford to make big mistakes because it's going to cost you. You have to be on your game and know what you're doing. We've got to play four quarters of football and we've got to play our best game."
Either way, expect a physical clash between two quality football teams.
"It's going to be a dogfight, that's what we're looking at," Hogan said. "That's a very good club. I'm sharing the same sentiments as our staff. We know this team is a team to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, we're the team that's going to have to play them."

Post-game Midweek Article:    

Fifth Quarter:

Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

None the first week.

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