2009 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 11 vs General Brown
Blue Devils blank General Brown 27-0


Articles courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin & The Watertown Daily Times

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Devils' dominance continues
Shutout earns Forks a berth in state semis

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

ENDICOTT -- How thorough, that 27-0 beating Chenango Forks administered to General Brown in Saturday's quarterfinal round of Class C state football playoffs?

The Lions, 10-0 and ranked fourth in the state coming into the contest at Union-Endicott High, did not snap the football in Forks territory until about seven minutes remained, punted seven times, were out-rushed by 381-81 yards and completed four of 15 passes.

Second-ranked Forks (11-0) was that dominant, earning a berth opposite top-ranked Jamestown Southwestern in a semifinal scheduled for noon Saturday at Marina Auto Stadium in Rochester.

"They didn't do anything we didn't expect, they're just low and fast, low and fast," General Brown coach Steve Fisher said.

"Speed kills, that's what they say -- and it's so true," said coach David Hogan, whose Forks squad turned its superior speed into 10 gains of double-digit yardage, three of those for touchdowns. "We've got a lot of team speed, a bunch of kids who can score from anywhere on the field. And, of course with Jordan (Barnett) power running like that, with us winning the battle up front ...

"What more can you ask for?"

Barnett scored the first and fourth touchdowns for the Blue Devils[] , gaining the vast majority of his 88 rushing yards into the heart of a General Brown front that averaged a stout 232 pounds per man.

Halfback Jimmy Miller was the game's leading rusher with 155 yards coming on a 17-per-carry average, and he produced the most significant TD of the afternoon.

Forks held a 7-0 lead and was driving for a second score before losing a fumble at the Lions' 5-yard line with 2:13 to play in the opening quarter.

The Devils forced General Brown to punt from its 22-yard line on the second play of the second quarter and took possession at the Lions' 45-yard line.

The call was "Halfback Iso Right," a play that debuted on the practice field during the week of preparation. Miller accepted the handoff, had sufficient space cleared by his line, and went all the way for a score which, with Dan Grady's PAT kick, made it 14-0

"I saw an opening, hit the hole hard," Miller said. "No one was there in the secondary, so I took it the distance."

That was huge, answering our mistake," center Jake DuBois said. "We just made sure we were going to put the game away right there."

"Being able to overcome that stuff (the turnover), that speaks a lot about our leadership," Hogan said. "That's big."

The first three possessions of the third quarter ended with punts, the last leaving Forks in possession at its 14-yard line with 3:19 left in the quarter. A second-down rush of 64 yards by Miller -- and accompanying facemask penalty assessed to an increasingly frustrated General Brown defense -- brought the ball to the Lions' 12.

Two plays later, quarterback Rickey Bronson carried 10 yards for a score and Grady's kick made it 21-0.

Tyler Lusht intercepted a General Brown pass in the final minute of the third quarter, giving Forks the ball at the Lions' 39. Bronson rushed for 20 yards to the 19 on third down, and four plays later Barnett rushed inside for a 10-yard touchdown-- carrying two defenders the final 4 or 5 yards across the goal line.

"That was awesome. That's how he runs," said DuBois, who watched completion of the run from behind.

Awesome would be a fitting description of the brand of defense Forks once again demonstrated. The Devils limited General Brown to 3 yards per rush and forced the team from Jefferson County to pass more than it'd have chosen to pass.

The shutout was Forks' seventh this season and fourth in the last five games.

"I think their linebackers really hurt us, and their secondary tackled well, too," Fisher said.

LIONS FALL SHORT: Chenango Forks proves too tough, strong


ENDICOTT A memorable season ended in a forgettable way for General Brown football on Saturday at Union-Endicott high school.

State-ranked No. 2 Chenango Forks handed the No. 4 Lions their first loss and first shutout of the season with a 27-0 triumph in the State Class C quarterfinals.

"We matched up with them really well," General Brown coach Steve Fisher said. "But they were just faster and stronger than us."

The Lions mustered 112 total offensive yards, while the Blue Devils garnered 411 to advance to the state semifinals for the eighth time in nine years.

General Brown (10-1 overall) didn't break into Chenango Forks territory until 8 minutes, 11 seconds left to play in the game.

"It's just their linemen are so good and physically dominant," Lions running back Nick Klusacek said. "They just overwhelmed our linemen."

Chenango Forks (11-0) controlled the line on both sides, opening holes for its running backs and closing them against General Brown's.

"Their line's very good; Their ends are very, very good," Fisher said. "They just beat us, pure and simple."

The Blue Devils scored on their first drive, marching 75 yards on 14 plays, ending with a 3-yard run by Jordan Barnett. Chenango Forks converted three critical third downs on the drive.

"We have a bunch of guys that can run the ball," Blue Devils coach Dave Hogan said. "They can score from pretty much anywhere on the field."

And they did, especially Jimmy Miller, who finished with 167 yards on 10 carries.

He gave Chenango Forks a 14-0 lead in the second quarter with a 45-yard rush on the drive's first play.

"It was a play that we just put in for this weekend," he said. "It was an iso-right, and I saw the line create a big hole, and I just hit it hard."

General Brown wasn't out of it yet, but its inability to move the ball in the first half made even 14 points a tough task.

"Overall, they had better skill players," Klusacek said of Chenango Forks. "We just didn't play our best game today."

The Lions garnered 44 yards in the first half and barely threatened getting by midfield, much less the end zone.

General Brown came out in the third with a different plan, but the Blue Devils defense didn't relent.

"We just couldn't keep picking up first downs," Fisher said. "They were just low and fast."

Chenango Forks put the game out of reach for good late in the third quarter when quarterback Rickey Bronson capped an 86-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown scramble.

"I knew once we got up by 21 that if we just played solid defense, we'd come out on top," Miller said. "That's what we love is defense."

The Blue Devils tacked on its final touchdown with a 10-yard run by Barnett.

"We played very, very well," Hogan said. "We knew that was a quality team, and they were. I think we had some breaks go our way."

Fisher said that although the season may be over for General Brown, it was, by no means, a disappointment.

"10-1 is nothing to sneeze at," he said. "The young men in our program represented the community in the highest manner."

Speculation of Fisher's retirement will have to wait until February. He said he wouldn't decide if he would return next season until then. For now, he's reveling in the first Section 3 title General Brown has won since 2005.

"We're really proud of them," Fisher said of his players. "I think we've had an outstanding season."

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 7 7 7 6 - 27
General Brown 0 0 0 0 - 0
  • CF - Jordan Barnett 3y run (Dan Grady kick)
  • CF - Jimmy Miller 45y run (Grady kick)
  • CF - Rickey Bronson 10y run (Grady kick)
  • CF - Barnett 10y run (kick failed)


First Downs 7 16
Rushes-Yards 27-81 57-381
Passing Yards 25 0
Comp-Att-Int 4-15-2 0-0-0
Total Offense 42-106 57-381
Punts-Ave yards 7-35.3 3-29.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 3-29 4-45


General Brown rushing

  • Robert Thomas 6-24
  • Nick Klusacek 7-24
  • Kyle Scordo 4-19
  • Jared Flath 9-17
  • Ken Cote 1-(-3)

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Jimmy Miller 9-155, 1 TD
  • Jordan Barnett 16-88, 2 TDs
  • Rickey Bronson 12-48, 1 TD
  • Tyler Lusht 5-40
  • Ryan Lusht 9-40
  • Lukas Aston 3-6
  • Casey LaNave 1-5
  • Ryan Lamond 1-0
  • Travis Barnett 1-(1)

General Brown passing

  • Thomas 4-for-15, 25y, 2 int

Chenango Forks passing

  • none

General Brown receiving

  • Klusacek 1-9
  • Flath 1-6
  • Devon Tyler 1-5
  • Dillon Weston 1-5

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • none

Preview Articles: 

Forks braces for powerful General Brown in Class C quarterfinal

By Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Chenango Forks' opening test in Class C football playoffs would appear a daunting one.
A large, powerful and unbeaten group from General Brown will line up against the Blue Devils for a quarterfinal scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Saturday at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Stadium.
If they are to earn an eighth semifinal berth in the last nine seasons, the Devils will have to contain a General Brown offense that operates behind a line that averages 232 pounds per man from tackle-to-tackle, and which features three backs who pick up better than 8 yards per rush.
The Lions hail from the Jefferson County village of Dexter, about 2 1/2 miles from Watertown.
"We haven't faced anyone near that size -- and in addition to that, they can play," Forks coach David Hogan said of 291-pound Lions tackle Kyle Rust and mates on the line.
Running back Nick Klusacek is coming off a 147-yard rushing effort in General Brown's 27-14 win over Cazenovia for Section 3's championship. Fullback Jared Flath (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) added 91 yards in that game. The other 8-per-carry man in the backfield is Kyle Scordino.
"And they'll throw on any down in any situation," Hogan said, citing quarterback Robert Thomas and a cast of receivers headed by 6-2 Devon Tyler. "And the quarterback runs the option well. He's pretty elusive."
That bunch will take on a Forks defense that has surrendered 37 points this season, 14 of them given up after leading Walton by 41-0 in last weekend's Section 4 final.
"(General Brown) has a plethora of plays," Hogan said. "We'll have to good on a lot of our assignments. We can't have mental breakdowns, it takes just one mental breakdown to lead to a big play."
Forks, which has generated a 101-8 record from 2001 to the present, continues to do its damage on the ground -- 298 yards per game -- with fullback Jordan Barnett, brothers Ryan and Tyler Lusht, and Jimmy Miller the primary ball carriers.
General Brown coach Steve Fisher, 63, stands 10th on New York's list of all-time wins with 251.


STATE TOURNAMENT: General Brown takes on two-time state champion in quarterfinals

DEXTER Saturday's Class C football state quarterfinal matchup between General Brown and Section 4's Chenango Forks feels a little like a winner-take-all contest.
"If we win this," said General Brown's Jared Flath, "we'll definitely be confident that we know we can win state(s)."
In the red corner, it's the Blue Devils. They're a two-time state champion at Class B, ranked second in the state and boast multiple linemen pushing 300 pounds. Chenango Forks also posted six shutout wins.
In the blue corner, it's the competitor and underdog Lions. They grinded their way to a season few expected. They won Section 3, defeating yet another state-ranked team in the process. They rose from relative obscurity to the state's fourth-ranked team. The Lions are undefeated and have four shutouts to their name.
"People can say what they want," Flath said of the talk against the Lions, "But once they play against us, they don't actually know."
Cazenovia was the last to fall in a 27-14 General Brown triumph at the Carrier Dome last weekend. Before that, it was Bishop Ludden. The Lions came from behind, scoring 16 fourth-quarter points to win, 28-21.
"They were a good, hard-hitting team," General Brown lineman Kyle Rust said of Bishop Ludden. "That's what Chenango is like: hard-hitting and fast."
He thinks a win will be determined by who has the freshest legs come the fourth quarter. That's what won General Brown the Bishop Ludden game.
That game's fresh in the mind of coach Steve Fisher as well.
"I haven't watched the Cazenovia game," he said. "I watched the Bishop Ludden game at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday because I couldn't sleep."
The Lions didn't back down then, not even when it faced a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The players and Fisher believe that Chenango Forks plays in the same style.
"We've scouted them twice," Fisher said. "They're a power-running team. They're good up front. Their running backs are powerful. They're very fast, not very big, but really strong."
The Blue Devils tout four capable running backs Jordan Barnett, Jimmy Miller and twins Tyler and Ryan Lusht.
The foursome has combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards this season. That's due in part to Chenango Forks' inability to pass. The Blue Devils have completed only 11 passes all season.
That's not necessarily a bad thing for the Lions. Opposing teams have struggled to run consistently against the tough defense.
"Our defense is just so good that we haven't let anyone get past a certain point," Flath said. "Yeah, they may run on us, but they haven't made it in the end zone. That's pretty decent."
Fisher said controlling the line and making sure those four running backs don't have big games is crucial to winning the game.
"Staying low and fast is the key," he said. "We have to keep lower than them and faster than them."
Offensively, the Lions can boast nearly unstoppable running backs Flath and Nick Klusacek. Each has been pivotal this season and both must run well against Chenango Forks.
"We have to get Flath and Klusacek going," Rust said. "We need to block the line and get them outside and up the middle."
Should they falter, there's running back Kyle Scordo ready to go.
"We've got Thomas, Klusacek and Scordo that can run," Fisher said. "We're looking forward to playing (Chenango Forks)."
General Brown is scheduled to depart at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday for the 3 p.m. game played at Union-Endicott High School.

Post-game Midweek Article:    

Fifth Quarter:

Staff reports - Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

Attention to detail key to Forks' success

Devils' defense dominates in Class C football

Tangible results of the preparation put in by Chenango Forks football coaches came in the form of a huge second-quarter touchdown in the Blue Devils'[] 27-0 Class C state quarterfinal victory Saturday over General Brown.

Leading by 7-0 in the opening minute of the second quarter, Forks took possession of the ball at the Lions' 45-yard line following a punt.

What followed was something that wasn't even in the playbook a week before, a halfback isolation play that Jimmy Miller turned into a 45-yard touchdown rush and a two-touchdown advantage over the Section 3 champions.

"We thought we saw something on the film where Cazenovia was successful (against General Brown in a quarterfinal) with a play similar to that," Forks coach David Hogan said. "We gave it a shot. We practiced it a few times and it worked out all right."

It is the kind of attention to detail that has long been a staple of the program, which has generated a .927 winning percentage this decade.

Defense, too, has been a cornerstone of this Forks team, and it was on display in overwhelming fashion against General Brown.

There were interceptions by brothers Ryan and Tyler Lusht ... Andy Lewis tossing quarterback Robert Thomas[] to the ground for a 4-yard loss on third down deep in Lions territory ... Jake DuBois' tackle of fullback Jared Flath for a 2-yard loss the play before Tyler Lusht's interception ... A solo sack by Lewis the play before Ryan Lusht's pick.

And so it went on the way to the team's fourth shutout in the last five weeks.

On the other side, the Blue Devils did their work exclusively on the ground.

Asked if he expected the pass coming into play, Hogan said: "Yes. We've been practicing throwing the ball. But when you don't have to do it ... I just feel it'd be foolish, too many bad things can happen.

"If we've got to punt, then we've got to punt. We just have a lot of faith in our defense."