Chenango Forks Varsity Football
10 vs Walton
dismantle Walton 48-14!
Eighth Section 4
Title this decade!
Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press &
Sun-Bulletin & the Oneonta Daily Star
Forks' A-Game earns Class C football title
Devils dominate Walton
By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
BINGHAMTON -- Chenango Forks' first five
possessions resulted in touchdowns Saturday in a surprisingly
lopsided 48-14 rout of Walton for Section 4's Class C football
The Blue Devils (10-0) had 41 points before
Walton gained its second first down on their way to the
program's eighth sectional title in the last nine seasons.
Ahead will be a state quarterfinal against
General Brown, a 27-14 winner over Cazenovia in Section 3's
final. That'll be played at 2 p.m. Saturday at Union-Endicott.
Other than one pass play that went for 52 yards
midway through the second quarter, the Warriors were limited to
19 yards of first-half offense.
Forks, meanwhile, capitalized on short field
after short field on its way to a 34-0 halftime advantage. Aside
from a 96-yard scoring drive for their fifth touchdown of the
half, the Blue Devils' average starting field position was the
Walton 36-yard line.
Fullback Jordan Barnett scored the first three
TDs, Ricky Bronson hit Dan Grady on a 35-yard scoring pass and
Jimmy Miller rushed in for the last of the first-half strikes.
"I expected a lot more of a dogfight," Bronson
said. "I think overall we prepared throughout the week very
well, we paid attention to detail with everything we had to do.
We just went out and executed our game plan, that's what made it
easy for us."
"We knew what they were going to do, everybody
knew the calls so we knew what was going on," said Andy Lewis, a
two-way senior lineman and part of the reason Forks had the
better of things up front on both sides of the line of
Against a Forks squad known to pounce on
opponents' miscues, Walton made a huge one on the fourth play
from scrimmage. The football was snapped over the head of punter
Chris Calabrese, who was felled for a 9-yard loss that left
Forks with the ball at the Warriors' 11.
Barnett carried in from the 7 on third down 2:58
into the contest.
The Warriors' next two possessions were of the
three-and-out variety, leading to eight- and seven-play drives
capped by scoring runs of 1 and 3 yards, respectively, by
Trailing by 21-0, Walton executed its longest
gain when Phil Hanley picked up 8 yards on a rush -- only to
lose the football to Forks at the Warriors' 42-yard line. Four
plays later from the 35 came the first Forks passing play in
recent memory, Bronson delivering to an open Grady to cash in on
fourth-and-3 and make it 27-0 with 8:34 remaining in the half.
A similarly ground-oriented Walton squad went up
top soon after, with Dan Gehl finding Justin Gardepe for 52
yards down to Forks' 13 on a third-and-long and against the
Devils' nickel package.
However, on fourth-and-2 from the 5, Bryant Mead
was stopped a yard short of the first down and Forks had the
ball 96 yards from more points with 4:50 left in the half.
Tyler Lusht converted on third down with a rush
to Forks' 19, and three plays later ripped off a 66-yarder along
the home sideline to move the ball to Walton's 27. Three rushes
later Miller took a toss left and sprinted in from the 12.
Grady's kick made it 34-0 with 29.4 seconds remaining in the
"I was absolutely elated with the way were
playing early on," Devils coach David Hogan said. "There was not
much that was going wrong. We were ready to play.
"We just had a feeling, maybe it was the swagger
our guys had in pre-game. And I thought we had a very good week
of practice, too. It was high-tempo, and I think the kids knew
they had to play their A-Game -- and I believe we did that."
"Our line is one of our biggest keys, if not our
biggest," Bronson said. "They moved their defensive line back,
our running backs made the moves they had to make."
In customary Forks fashion, ball-carrying chores
were widely distributed. Lusht's 88 yards topped the charts and
three teammates added 55 or more toward a team total of 354.
Hanley closed with 63 yards as Walton's leading
"Honestly, I think the majority of their team
wanted it more than us," Hanley said. "They came out and blocked
better, tackled better, their backs run hard -- that's a great
Walton routed by CF
By P.J. Harmer
Oneonta Daily Star
BINGHAMTON _ Walton's reign ended Saturday.
For the first time since 2006, the Warriors won't advance past the Section Four Football Conference final. The Warriors fell, 48-14, to unbeaten Chenango Forks in the Class C championship game at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.
Jordan Barnett rushed for 66 yards and three touchdowns as the Blue Devils cruised to their eighth Section Four title in nine seasons, their first in Class C.
Two years removed from winning the Class D state championship, the Warriors had reached the Class D final the past three seasons _ losing to Delhi in 2006, before winning back-to-back titles with victories over Deposit and Groton in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Walton (7-3) moved back to Class C this year, finishing second to Forks (10-0) in Division V. The Blue Devils won their regular-season meeting, 27-6.
"We were in the Section Four finals," said Walton coach Jim Hoover, the winningest coach in Section Four history at 272-65-1. "Moving up from D to C, a lot of people didn't think we'd be there, but we got there. We just didn't do a real good job when we got here."
Forks jumped to a 27-0 lead Saturday before Walton had a first down.
"Surprised? I guess I was surprised," Chenango Forks coach Dave Hogan said. "There's no doubt about that. I'm just absolutely elated with the way we were playing. Early on, there's not much that was going wrong. We were ready to play."
Walton's first series proved to be a case of foreshadowing of what was to come.
Starting at Walton's 21, Phil Hanley got 1 yard on the game's first offensive play. But a false start on second down pushed the Warriors back 5 yards. Dan Gehl gained 3 yards before he threw an incomplete pass to bring up a fourth-and-11 from the 20.
Long-snapper Austin Boice sent the ball over punter Chris Calabrese, who ran backwards, scooped it up and got 7 yards before being hit by a swarm of Chenango Forks players at the 11.
Three plays later Barnett went in from 7 yards and Dan Grady's extra point made it 7-0 with 9 minutes, 2 seconds left in the opening quarter.
"The coaches told us that it's about the offseason and what you do during the week," said Hanley, who has helped the Warriors go 31-4 over the past three seasons. "You can't blame it on the coaches. They prepared us. They changed the schemes, they did everything they could. It comes down to how much the players wanted it and to be honest, the majority of that team wanted it more today than our team."
The Blue Devils forced the Warriors to punt on their next two possessions, and scored each time.
Barnett capped a nine-play drive with a 1-yard plunge at 3:49, and he finished a seven-play drive with a 3-yard run with 10:53 to go in the second quarter as Chenango Forks increased its lead to 21-0.
"We know that they are a good defensive team," Barnett said. "Our linemen, if I could give them a grade, it would be an A-plus. And our lead halfbacks, A-plus. We did great up front. Our runners, when we got the ball, we ran hard and followed our blocks."
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Hanley fumbled after a 7-yard gain and Grady recovered at Walton's 42.
Forks faced a fourth-and-3 from the 35 when quarterback Rickey Bronson connected with a wide-open Grady on the right side for a touchdown. Grady's kick sailed wide left, but the Blue Devils led, 27-0.
"They are just that much better than us, flat out," Hoover said. "You can say what you want. You can say that we made these mistakes or made that mistake, but good teams don't make mistakes and teams that aren't necessarily doing a good job make a lot of mistakes.
"We never got over that all year long," he continued. "We made mistakes all year long. We kept hoping we could eliminate the mistakes. ... Sometimes you have to say some teams are better than you and, this year, Chenango Forks is quite a bit better than Walton."
The Blue Devils led, 34-0, after Jimmy Miller scored on a 12-yard run to cap an eight-play drive with 29 seconds left in the half. Grady's extra-point kick was good.
"We had some issues," Hanley said. "It's really unlike us, too. The Walton program is known for hitting and tackling and we practiced it all year. I don't know. I don't take anything with their runners or their blockers. They are all well disciplined."
The Blue Devils made it 41-0 with 8:09 remaining in the third when Ryan Lusht scored on a 53-yard run up the right sideline.
Walton snapped the shutout in the fourth quarter, when Hanley, a senior, scored on his final carry for Walton. His 1-yard run ended an eight-play drive. He rushed five times on the drive for 26 yards and finished with 69 yards on 17 carries.
Hanley finished his three-year varsity stay with 2,626 yards on 310 carries.
"I was just going to thank the coaches," Hanley said. "They didn't have to give me that touchdown. We were down by about 40 points. It meant a lot to me. It kind of capped off a career that I really enjoyed.
"There's nothing to be ashamed of," he continued. "We had a lot of great blockers and a lot of great kids. The coaching staff is always great. I enjoyed coming out and playing every day with my friends and learning more about the game of football and just preparing for every team every week. We just showed up too short and too late today."
Lusht fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Walton's Dylan Hornbeck recovered at the 29. Two plays later, Nick Shiels scored on a 27-yard run to make it 41-14 with 4:57 to play.
Forks closed out the scoring when David Hendrickson scored on a 1-yard run with 1:42 remaining.
"We didn't tackle very well and we didn't block very well and we didn't run very well," said Hoover, who added it was questionable if he will return for a 35th season with Walton. "You can go right down the line. They are bigger than we are and stronger than we are. They do a great job. They are very well coached and everything they did today was a lot better than what we did today."
- CF - Jordan Barnett 7y run (Dan Grady kick)
- CF - Barnett 1y run (Grady kick)
- CF - Barnett 3y run (Grady kick)
- CF - Grady 35y pass from Bronson (Grady kick
- CF - Jimmy Miller 12y run (Grady kick)
- CF - Ryan Lusht 53y run (Grady kick)
- Wa - Phil Hanley 1y run (Chris Calatrese run)
- Wa - Nick Shiels 27y run (run failed)
- CF - David Hendrickson 1y run (Grady kick)
- Hanley 16-63
- Shiels 2-34
- Bryant Mead 6-19
- Evan Boyd 4-14
- Bob Albro 1-6
- Calatrese 5-4
- Fred Babcock 1-3
- Dylan Hornbeck 1-3
- Dan Gehl 1-3
- Tyler Lusht 6-88
- Jordan Barnett 10-73, 3 TDs
- Ryan Lusht 6-69, 1 TD
- DJ Smith 5-55
- Jimmy Miller 8-45, 1 TD
- Rickey Bronson 5-18
- Hendrickson 4-6, 1 TD
- Ryan Lamond 1-3
- Travis Barnett 1-(-3)
- Bronson 1-for-1, 35y, 1 TD
- Justin Gardepe 1-52
- Hanley 1-14
Playoff-savvy Forks, Walton vie for 'C' football title
By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
A return to familiar state-playoff territory will be the aim of Chenango Forks and Walton when the two meet to decide Section 4's Class C football championship in a game scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Binghamton Alumni Stadium
Forks had a seven-year run of state-playoff participation halted last year. Walton has advanced to states three of the last five seasons.
In the first meeting between the two, Sept. 26 at Walton, Forks (9-0) sprang from a 6-0 deficit with 20 second-quarter points and posted a 27-6 victory over the Warriors (7-2).
However, know that there has been zero over-confidence in Forks headquarters.
Going against a Walton team guided by Section 4's all-time winningest coach, Jim Hoover, Forks coach David Hogan was asked how great a concern is his counterpart's experience and ability to make just the right tweak for a rematch.
"Enormous," he said. "We know we're playing a Jim Hoover-and-staff team and we know that it's going to be tough to beat them two times in the same season. What's nice is, I've heard our kids say that. They know that.
"That's some pretty good leadership on our team."
Forks senior Jordan Barnett said, "They're going to come out strong just like the first game. Hopefully, it comes out like it did the first game. We played Waverly last year and beat them (in the regular season), but the second game we lost. So, we're not being over-confident for this one."
Walton has won five in a row since consecutive losses to Delhi and Forks.
"The biggest thing was the seniors, we just said, 'Look guys, we've always made the playoffs. We don't know what it's like to lose. We've got to look at what we're doing and turn it around.'
"We came together as a team and now, here we are. It's a relief."
In that telltale second quarter of the teams' first meeting, the Blue Devils outgained Walton by 135 yards to 27.
Chenango Forks has shut out three consecutive opponents and four of its last five. The Blue Devils' 23 points allowed this season marks Section 4's low yield.
Powers to clash in final
By P.J. Harmer
Oneonta Daily Star
Walton and Chenango Forks are getting an encore.
Two of the most storied programs in Section Four football history will meet for the second time this season at 1 p.m. Saturday at Binghamton Alumni Stadium. This time, the Section Four Football Conference Class C title is on the line.
Division V champion Chenango Forks (9-0) beat host Walton (7-2) in their first meeting this season, 27-6.
"We don't expect one like the last one," Chenango Forks coach Dave Hogan said. "Without question, they are a much improved team since the first time we saw them."
Former rivals in the defunct Susquenango League, the teams have often been on mirrored tracks. Until this season, Chenango Forks had been a Class B power. Walton played in Class C until 2005, when it moved to Class D. So until both moved to Class C this season, their paths have never crossed in the playoffs.
Since 1983, the two have combined for 24 Section Four championships and four state titles, according to the website section4football.com. Walton has 13 sectional titles, including the past two in Class D.
"It's a first," Walton coach Jim Hoover said of meeting the Blue Devils in a sectional final. "We played them in the past where the team that won would be in first (place in the Sus League). It's never been for a final.
"It's two good programs _ two of the most consistent programs in a long time," he continued. "If you look at all the teams in Section Four as far as consistency, the teams that are there most years, it has to be Forks and Walton."
The only teams that are close to the two in sectional crowns since 1983 are Union-Endicott (10), Delhi (9) and Binghamton (7).
Chenango Forks, which is ranked second in the state in Class C, has been the premier team in the section this century, with seven straight Class B championships from 2001-07. The Blue Devils also won back-to-back state titles in 2003-04.
"I guess maybe in the summer when we learned we were in the same class, we thought then (about possibly meeting Walton in the final)," Hogan said. "Our thought now is it's tough to beat real good teams twice. It's even tougher with a program like Walton."
In their first meeting, Chenango Forks trailed for the first time in the season when Evan Boyd closed the first quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Walton a 6-0 lead. The Blue Devils, who have allowed the fewest points in Section Four this season (23), shut down the Warriors the rest of the way.
"They had an opportunity a couple of other times to score," Hogan said. "I think we had some breaks that went our way. Had we not gotten those breaks, things could have been different. We have reminded (our players) of that. They know how quality of a program Walton is."
The loss to Chenango Forks was the second in a row for the Warriors, who also fell to rival Delhi, 14-12, on Sept. 19. Since then, Walton has won five straight, outscoring opponents, 187-67, to finish second in Division V and reach the playoffs.
The Warriors beat Division VI champion Newark Valley, 48-28, in a Class C semifinal last Saturday. Chenango Forks advanced by beating Waverly, 20-0, for its sixth shutout this season.
"I think they are certainly playing with more confidence," Hogan said of Walton. "Their line play on both sides of the ball has improved. "¦ It seems like they have a bunch of weapons. Maybe that's attributed to their line play. They are pretty scary. I said that the first time and we definitely feel that way this time."
Phil Hanley leads Walton's rushing attack with 900 yards and 11 touchdowns on 142 carries. A speedy and shifty back, Hanley finished with an area-best 1,278 yards last season.
Bryant Mead has been a big contributor as well, rushing for 594 yards and four touchdowns on 80 carries. Fullback Boyd has 487 yards and seven touchdowns on 85 carries.
Quarterback Dan Gehl has been strong when needed. He's completed 24 of 53 attempts for 327 yards and five touchdowns. He's also been intercepted twice.
"We can't make the mistakes we did the first time," Hoover said. "We can't punt a ball into one of our blockers. We can't get a nice kickoff and let them return it back to the 45 or 50.
"We have to play good defense, good offense and good special teams, and maybe have a little luck, too," he continued. "They are good. We all know they are good. They don't do anything fancy on offense. They come and say, stop us.' If you slow them down, they can pass."
Neither team had the much success on the ground in the first game.
Chenango Forks' Jimmy Miller had 68 yards on four carries _ with the bulk of those yards coming on a 53-yard scoring run. Jordan Barnett, Tyler Lusht and Ryan Lusht are also threats for the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils attack is balanced, with those four runners at about 500 yards.
"We have to move the ball," Hoover said. "They are a strong offensive team. They come at you, but you have to be able to move the ball. By moving it, you keep the ball away from them.
"That's the team they are _ nothing fancy," he continued. "The key is being able to move the ball and score some points. Not many people have done that all year. "¦ We're going to have to score on them more than once."
The Section Four winner advances to a state quarterfinal at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Stadium, where they'll meet the Section Three champion. General Brown (9-0) and Cazenovia (9-0) play for the Section Three title at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
Staff reports - Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Forks in peak form
His team had executed superbly on both sides of the line of scrimmage and held a 34-0 lead over Walton midway through Saturday's Section 4 Class C football title game.
And so, how to address the young men in the dressing room at halftime?
"We always talk about 0-0, we talk about no letdowns, that we have to punch it in, that we can't let them back in the ball game," Blue Devils coach David Hogan said. "That's what we stress, that's what we've always stressed.
"You can't relax for a second against a team like Walton, they can get some momentum and get back into the game."
All five first-half possessions went for scores against the Warriors, and the Devils' defense forced eight Walton plays that went for no more than a 1-yard gain.
Had his team played a better half this year?
"I don't think so," Hogan said.
Are the Devils capable of playing a better half?
"Oh, yeah. Especially after we watch the film, we'll find something, some things that we did wrong," he said. "So, you better believe we'll expect even more from them next week."
Forks' defensive stats took a hit when Walton put up two fourth-quarter touchdowns against second-team defenders to halt the Devils' string of three successive shutouts. The 48-14 final left Forks opponents a 3.7 per-game scoring average.
"We're getting better every week," senior lineman Andy Lewis said. "We work hard every week in practice and it shows on game days."
"That's what we want to do, week-in and week-out. We go into a week of practice looking to play better than we did the week before," said quarterback/defensive back Rickey Bronson. "So far, I think we've done a great job of doing that."
Forks plays at 3 p.m. Saturday in a state quarterfinal at Union-Endicott High against General Brown, located west of Watertown. Both are 10-0. Forks went into the weekend ranked second in the state and General Brown fifth.