2009 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 4 vs Walton
Blue Devils defeat Walton 27-6!


Articles courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and the Oneonta Daily Star

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Chenango Forks finds second gear to pull away from Walton

Kevin Stevens
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

WALTON -- Jimmy Miller's 53-yard scoring rush set in motion a dominant second quarter of football by Chenango Forks in a come-from-behind 27-6 victory Saturday over Walton.

The Warriors' command of the opening period -- a 6-0 lead and possession for all but three minutes -- seemed a faded memory after a second quarter in which Forks whipped up 20 points and permitted a single first down.

In customary Forks fashion, four players scored a touchdown apiece on the way to a fourth consecutive win and 3-0 record within Division V, and the guests demonstrated perfectly Devil-ish defense the final 36 minutes.

Label it a major success for Forks in a collision of Section 4's two preeminent football programs this decade.

"I'm not sure it surprised any of us, including our kids," Forks coach David Hogan said of the early deficit.

Nonetheless, this was a squad that boarded a Delaware County-bound bus averaging 35 points per game, and which had allowed its first three opponents an aggregate three points.

"We told them all week, we know they're coming to play and we know they're a very good club," Hogan said. "We didn't panic, and I thought our kids did a very good job of staying positive and answering with that long TD run by Jimmy."

Walton fullback Evan Boyd crashed over from the 1-yard line on first quarter's final play from scrimmage, but quarterback Dan Gehl's attempt at a two-point chaser was denied when Miller chased him down and made the tackle.

Forks' Ryan Lusht regrouped from an initial bobble after fielding the ensuing kickoff and returned 39 yards to the Devils' 42. Then, on third-and-5, Miller took a toss, turned upfield near the home sideline, and wasn't to be caught. His 53-yard TD made it 6-6 -- a tie preserved when Boyd soared to block Dan Grady's PAT attempt.

"At first, it took a while to get going, but Jim Miller busted one around the end. That was when we first started actually getting them," said Blue Devils center Jake DuBois. Walton took possession at its 19-yard line and advanced to the 35 before, on fourth-and-5 and with Devils defenders charging, Kyle Baxley's punt caromed off the back of a teammate and Forks recovered a free ball at the 31.

A methodical eight-play succession followed, with fullback Jordan Barnett cashing in from a yard out for a lead that grew to 14-6 when Rickey Bronson hit Derek Foster with a two-point pass -- the flea-flicker delight coming after a 5-yard whack for illegal procedure.

"It took me three times (from the 6-yard line), but I wasn't taking no for an answer," Barnett said.

The Warriors (2-2, 1-1), in need of a dose of positive in a jiffy, were held to 4 yards in three plays and punted from their 12. That set up Forks 46 yards from points that Walton could ill-afford to yield.

Rushes of 8 and 23 yards in either direction by quarterback D.J. Smith brought the ball to the 11-yard line. Three plays later, Smith faked a handoff to the first back through and dealt a soft pass to his right that Mike Szymkowicz received under too-little duress for a 7-yard TD 33 seconds before halftime.

Second-quarter tally: Forks 135 yards, Walton 27.

"You know where they are, you know what they're going to do, it's a matter of blocking them," Walton coach Jim Hoover said of the Devils' defense. "Their big tackle (Andy Lewis), we couldn't move at all. He was just taking care of our people."

The Warriors' offense located the ignition switch early in the third quarter, advancing 49 yards to Forks' 35 -- only to see the possession squelched by a penalty and back-to-back-to-back passes that fell incomplete.

That left Forks to go the 60 yards in 13 plays, a 4-yard rush by Ryan Lusht 1:48 into the final quarter along with Grady's PAT making it 27-6. Another flea-flicker --_ snap to Smith, handoff to Miller, toss back to Smith and 30-yard pass to Foster -- pulled Forks from a third-and-12 dilemma four plays into the drive.

"The game plan was to come out and just stay on our blocks. Just keep running consistent plays, and if they didn't work we'd switch them up," Barnett said. "We told each other, we need to stay on our blocks, follow our blocks and make those first downs."

Walton falls back

By P.J. Harmer
Oneonta Daily Star

WALTON _ This one had the ingredients of an old-school football classic. Unfortunately for Walton, Chenango Forks put on a clinic.

The former Susquenango Association rivals met Saturday at Jim Hoover Field with the driver's seat in the loaded Section Four Football Conference Division V race on the line.

Despite scoring the first points, Walton couldn't stave off Chenango Forks' balanced and speedy offense as the Blue Devils used a dominating second quarter to earn a 27-6 victory on a cool autumn afternoon.

"It was a little wake-up call," Chenango Forks' running back Jesse Barnett said of the early deficit. "We're not used to that. We're used to running the ball down the field consistently. But this was a little wake-up call for us to step up and come together and we really needed it."

By no means, however, is the playoff chase over for Walton.

Chenango Forks (4-0, 3-0), the state's second-ranked Class C team, and Greene (4-0, 3-0) are tied atop Division V and play each other Oct. 17 at Forks. Walton (2-2, 1-1) and Whitney Point (3-1, 1-1) are tied for second in the seven-team division. They'll meet Oct. 10 at Whitney Point.

The Warriors, ranked 19th in Class C, host Greene at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday as well. The top two Division V teams will advance to the Section Four Class C playoffs.

"We're still in the playoff run," said Walton coach Jim Hoover, whose team won the past two Section Four Class D titles before moving back to Class C this year. "We have to beat Greene next weekend. If we don't beat Greene, we're out of it. It's a matter now that every game is like a bowl game to us.

"We have to run the table," continued Hoover, whose program also capped a 13-0 season in 2007 with the Class D state championship. "It doesn't get easier. We have Greene and a pretty good Whitney Point team. We knew that coming in that it was a hell of a schedule and we're just not responding to it very well."

Walton has lost two straight, starting with a 14-12 loss at rival Delhi on Sept. 19. The Warriors haven't lost three in a row since 2005, when a string of setbacks to Delhi, Oxford and Greene knocked them out of the playoffs in their first season in Class D.

"We need to work hard and start buckling down," Walton's Bryant Mead said. "We need to get a little stronger and get a little football-crazy now."

Evan Boyd closed the first quarter with a hard-fought, 1-yard run that marked the first touchdown against Chenango Forks this season.

Boyd's scoring run capped a nine-play drive that took 4 minutes, 5 seconds. Dan Gehl's conversion run came up short, but Walton led, 6-0, as the Blue Devils trailed for the first time this season.

"After that first touchdown, we were down and we're not used to that," said Barnett, who finished with 38 yards on 13 carries. "We knew we needed to come together and work as a team just to make the big hits."

On the third play of the second quarter, Jimmy Miller went to his right on a sweep, reached the Walton sideline and broke away from the pack for a 53-yard touchdown run. Boyd blocked Dan Grady's extra-point attempt to keep the score tied at 6.

"It started off great and it kind of went downhill from there," Mead said. "Momentum started dropping."

On their next possession, the Warriors were forced to punt on a fourth-and-5 from their 35. Punter Kyle Baxley scooped a low snap and his kick went off the back of Dan Gehl, who was blocking. The ball shot straight up and was swatted down by a Chenango Forks' player, leading to Ryan Lusht's recovery at Walton's 31.

Eight plays later, Barnett rumbled in from the 1 to give the Blue Devils the lead for good. Barnett rushed the ball three straight times, starting at the 6. Derek Foster caught the conversion pass from Rickey Bronson, who played sparingly at quarterback, to make it 14-6 with 4:47 to play in the second quarter.

"We thought we had the momentum and they got that one long run and the blocked punt, and next thing we know, they had momentum and they ran with it," Boyd said. "They took advantage of what we gave them and they hurt us."

Chenango Forks then forced a three-and-out and, after another punt, took over at Walton's 46 with 2:56 to go in the opening half.

On the sixth play of the ensuing drive, CF quarterback DJ Smith found Mike Szymkowicz open in the right corner of the end zone for a 7-yard TD with 33 seconds left for a 20-6 lead. Jimmy MacDonald knocked away the conversion-pass attempt.

"You can't go for the gusto too often because you know what could happen when you do that _ bad things could happen," Chenango Forks coach Dave Hogan said. "Patient is a good word to describe (us) and I think that's what we were today."

The Blue Devils lopped 5:42 off the clock with a 12-play scoring drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters. Lusht scored on a 4-yard run and Grady kicked the extra point to make it 27-6.

"It was tough," Mead said. "Everything is tough when you get beat. They are a good football team. They knew what they were doing, they read their keys well and they pursued and did everything we didn't."

Boyd led Walton with 44 yards on 11 carries. The Warriors were held to 149 yards rushing _ 9 more than their season-low against Delhi a week ago.

"A lot of it has to do with Forks' defense," Hoover said. "We're disappointed. We have some real good backs and we can't even make it to the line of scrimmage. Believe me, I'm not putting the blame on our offensive line. ... We're making a lot of mistakes that Walton football teams usually don't make. We just have to keep working."

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 0 20 0 7 - 27
Walton 6 0 0 0 - 6
  • Wa - Evan Boyd 1 run (run failed)
  • CF - Jimmy Miller 53 run (kick blocked)
  • CF - Jordan Barnett 1 run (Derek Foster pass from Rickey Bronson)
  • CF - Mike Szymkowicz 7 pass from DJ Smith (pass failed)
  • CF - Ryan Lusht 4 run (Dan Grady kick)


First Downs 10 12
Rushes-Yards 37-158 46-246
Passing Yards 39 37
Comp-Att-Int 4-8-0 2-3-0
Total Offense 45-197 49-283
Punts-Ave yards 3-33.7 2-42.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 6-35 6-44


Walton rushing

  • Boyd 11-44, 1 TD
  • Phil Hanley 11-39
  • Bryant Mead 7-31
  • Chris Calatrese 4-20
  • Nick Shiels 2-13
  • Jim MacDonald 1-7
  • Dan Gehl 1-4

Chenango Forks rushing

  • Jimmy Miller 4-67, 1 TD
  • Smith 5-41
  • Jordan Barnett 13-36, 1 TD
  • Tyler Lusht 9-36
  • Ryan Lusht 6-21, 1 TD
  • Ryan Lamond 3-20
  • Rickey Bronson 4-19
  • Lukas Aston 1-6
  • Casey LaNave 1-0

Walton passing

  • Gehl 4-for-8, 39y, 0 TD, 0 int

Chenango Forks passing

  • Smith 2-for-3, 37y, 1 TD, 0 int

Walton receiving

  • Hanley 2-13
  • Justin Gardepe 1-25
  • Boyd 1-1

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • Szymkowicz 1-7, 1 TD
  • Foster 1-3

JV Score: Walton 12-0

Preview Articles: 

None worth noting

Post-game Midweek Article:    

Fifth Quarter:

Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

CF stays cool, patient in blunting Walton

Chenango Forks' second-ranked Blue Devils made it a 4-0 record with a highly impressive 27-6 victory Saturday at Walton, pitching a shutout at the Warriors over the final three quarters.

Walton held a 6-0 advantage and had ruled time of possession in the opening quarter. Thereafter, the Warriors snapped the football a mere six times in Forks' territory.

"Early on, they got 7-8 yards a few plays, but you can't panic, you've got to hold together," Devils coach David Hogan said. "We always tell them, 'You'll figure it out, you'll figure out what's going on.'
"I think that's what happened."

Linebacker Jordan Barnett said, "It was all of us just coming together and knowing that, if we stop their run and make them switch up their game plan, then we know that we're in their heads. If they start passing, then we've stopped their running game."

With a second straight loss, Walton dipped to a 2-2 record, and on Saturday will host 4-0 Greene-- which has outscored its opponents by an aggregate 162-21. Just twice in the last 12 years has Walton lost three games in a season.

"We're just making a lot of mistakes that Walton football teams usually don't make," coach Jim Hoover said. "We're still in the playoff hunt. We've got to beat Greene. If we don't beat Greene, then we're out of it. So, every game now is like a bowl game, we have to run the table-- and it doesn't get any easier.

"We knew coming in that it was a hell of a schedule, and we're not responding to it very well."

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