Chenango Forks Varsity Football
10 vs Sidney
Blue Devils win
Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press &
Sun-Bulletin and Oneonta Daily Star
Forks defense smacks Sidney in Class C football final
Miller scores 4 TDs for likely new No. 1 team in state
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
ENDICOTT -- With perhaps its finest defensive
showing of the season, Chenango Forks put a 44-16 hurting on
Sidney to claim Section 4's Class C football championship
Saturday afternoon at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Stadium.
The Blue Devils limited Sidney to 226 yards of
offense, forced four turnovers and scored one defensive TD per
half, improving to a 10-0 record and securing the program's
ninth sectional title in the last 10 seasons.
Ahead for Forks is a state quarterfinal against General Brown or
Cato Meridian, scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at East
The Devils, ranked No. 2 at present, will likely
take the field for that game No. 1. Fredonia scored a 12-10
victory over top-ranked -- and two-time defending state champion
-- Jamestown Southwestern on Friday for the Section 6 crown.
The first of Jimmy Miller's four rushing
touchdowns came 2 minutes, 42 seconds into the second quarter
and put Forks on top to stay, and his two-point run made it
16-8. There the score remained until the decisive opening 5:16
of the second half.
The Blue Devils took the opening third-quarter
possession 40 yards in eight plays, with Miller rushing in from
the 1 and quarterback Casey LaNave rushing for two points and a
24-8 advantage 3:50 into the half.
Sidney (8-2) gained one first down on its ensuing
possession, but on a play from the Warriors' 44, Derek Foster
jumped the route of quarterback Dylan Umbra's intended receiver
to make an interception on the move and return the ball 47 yards
for a touchdown. Tyler Lusht received a pass from LaNave for two
points and a 32-8 spread with 6:44 to play in the third quarter.
In fact, Foster's play made it back-to-back
halves in which Forks' defense scored on Sidney's fourth
Eric Singh did the honors 1:52 into the game,
going 36 yards with a scoop-and-score after Umbra was harassed
into a fumble deep in the Warriors' backfield.
"That was huge. Nothing like that to get the team
going and get the crowd going, get adrenaline on your side,"
Lusht said of Singh's effort.
And of Foster's pick-and-go, he said, "Just as
big, might have been bigger. That just takes it out of the
Sidney team, something like that happening, that's bad for them.
They're not going to be able to come back after that."
Ryan Lusht rushed for 146 yards and twin Tyler
102 to head a Forks offense that gained 380 yards, all on the
Sidney closed with 194 passing yards, 173 by
Umbra on 23-for-35 efficiency. He came into the contest with a
273.4 per-game average and a 31-to-5 TD-to-interception ratio.
"We bent a little bit with short passes but we
didn't get beat deep," said Tyler Lusht, one of those secondary
members. "That was the key. Don't get beat deep. They scored a
little bit but we got the job done in the secondary."
"It was OK if we gave them the short little
passes," said Devils lineman Jake DuBois. "We had great
coverage, everyone did a great job sticking to their roles and
stopping them from getting the big plays. If they were whittling
away at us, that was all right."
Forks coach David Hogan said, "We kept our
composure, we didn't panic when they completed passes, we knew
they were going to. We never gave up that big pass play, which
everybody's done. We didn't give that up this time. Of course,
when you have two defensive scores, that helps a lot, too."
Umbra rushed 2 yards for a TD and passed to Andy
Kozak for two points to tie the game at 8-8 in the final minute
of the opening quarter. Forks answered by going 80 yards in
eight plays -- with a critical third-and-10 pass-interference
penalty aiding the cause -- for Miller's TD and the 16-8
Each gave up its next possession on fourth-down
failure, and a turnover apiece brought it to halftime.
Sidney's onside kick attempt to open the third
quarter went awry when Umbra's foot appeared to barley graze the
football, leaving Forks to start 40 yards from the goal line.
Rushes of 8 and 19 yards by Ryan Lusht were the big gainers of
the Devils' scoring drive.
Then came Foster's interception-return touchdown,
putting Sidney in a three-score hole against a defensive unit
known to care for a lead with the best of them.
"We had a very good season as far as turnovers,
very few turnovers-- none in crucial situations," Sidney coach
Jeff Matthews said. "Dylan threw five interceptions all year
long, in nine games. It's just one of those things.
"I think Forks did a great job getting ready for
us, not necessarily getting to Dylan for sacks, but getting
enough pressure on him to force him to do some things."
Sidney drew within 32-16 when Umbra hit Alex Heil
with a 9-yard touchdown pass, and the two hooked up for a
two-point conversion with 2:16 left in the third quarter.
But Forks responded with scoring drives of five
and eight plays covering a combined 144 yards.
Sidney's season low point total had been 28,
opening night against Walton, and the Warriors had averaged 46.2
per game. In the teams' first meeting, Oct. 8 at Sidney, Forks
was a 44-36 winner.
By P.J. Harmer
Sidney football falls short against
powerhouse Forks, 44-16
Oneonta Daily Star
ENDICOTT _ Sidney's high-powered offense ran
out of gas Saturday.
Chenango Forks took advantage of four
turnovers and cruised to a 44-16 victory over the Warriors
in the Section Four Class C football championship at
Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Stadium.
The Blue Devils (10-0) scored two defensive
touchdowns _ one in each half _ and pulled away in the
"It was pretty tough," said Sidney coach Jeff
Matthews, whose team lost two fumbles and was intercepted
twice. "We've been pretty clean all year long. Five
interceptions in a nine-game schedule, then today and the
fumbles. We've had some fumbles, but none that have caused
us many problems. We've had them, but we've been able to
overcome them. Against a team like Chenango Forks, you can't
give up two defensive touchdowns and expect to stay close."
Dylan Umbra completed 23 of 35 passes for 172
yards and a touchdown, setting Section Four records for
all-time passing yards and touchdown passes in a single
Umbra has thrown for 4,670 yards over four
varsity seasons, beating the former record of 4,574 yards
set by Windsor's Aaron Klumpp from 1996-98. His
third-quarter TD pass to Alex Heil gave Umbra 32 this
season; he entered the final tied at 31 with former Sidney
quarterback Kyle Morenus.
"I told my teammates I'll lead you to victory
and I came up short," said Umbra, who extended his Section
Four single-season record for passing yards to 2,611. "There
are a lot of things we could have done. Blocking could have
been better, my choices should have been better. Little
things got us, just like the first time we played them. They
execute very well."
The Blue Devils, who beat the Warriors,
44-36, on Oct. 8, pulled away during the first 5 minutes, 16
seconds of the second half. Sidney (8-2) trailed, 16-8, at
halftime and attempted an onside kick to start the third
quarter. Umbra, however, barely skimmed the ball as it
rolled just off the tee. The Warriors downed it, setting up
Forks at Sidney's 40.
"I got a little over-excited and didn't look
at the ball," Umbra said.
Eight plays later, Jimmy Miller scored on a
1-yard run and Casey LaNave's conversion run made it 24-8
with 8:10 to play in the third.
"It's one of those fluke things," said
Chenango Forks coach Dave Hogan, who got four touchdowns and
86 yards from Miller on 15 carries. "Now we only had to go
40 yards. That was key. We talked about how we had to punch
that one in."
Sidney's first drive of the second half
started at its 32. On the fourth play of the drive, Umbra
passed to the left side. Derek Foster cut in for the
interception and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown with
6:44 to play in the quarter. LaNave hooked up with Miller on
a conversion pass for a 32-8 lead.
"It wasn't out of reach," Sidney receiver
Alex Heil said of being down at the half. "We said that in
the locker room. We're talking and getting hyped up and we
didn't come out and execute."
Those two quick scores gave Chenango Forks
all the cushion it needed.
Sidney pulled to 32-16 when Umbra hit Heil on
a 9-yard pass and the ensuing conversion pass with 2:16 left
in the third. Miller then scored twice in the fourth
"It could have been nerves being in a big
atmosphere like this and a big game," Heil said. "Early
mistakes. Forks is a great team and they capitalize. It's
what they do. They have great athletes, great coaching and
they've done it for years. They capitalize on mistakes and
build momentum off that."
Chenango Forks took an early lead on one of
those Sidney miscues. The Warriors faced a second-and-6 at
Forks' 47. Umbra was chased out of the pocket and went
backwards before dropping the ball. Eric Singh scooped the
ball and broke up the middle for a touchdown with 10:08 to
play in the opening quarter. Miller's conversion run made it
"That's absolutely huge," Hogan said. "I
think that first (turnover) set the tone for us and it was a
bonus because we scooped it up and scored on it. ... Then we
have another defensive score with the interception. Two
defensive scores with teams so evenly matches, that comes up
The Warriors responded on their third
possession, finishing a 10-play drive when Umbra scored on a
2-yard run with 53.1 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Umbra connected with Andy Kozak on the conversion to tie it
Forks made it 16-8 on its next possession as
Miller scored on a 7-yard run with 9:18 left in the half.
Miller also went in on the conversion run.
His touchdown came after an apparent stop by
Sidney. Forks had a third-and-10 on its 20 and LaNave went
down the left side, where Andy Kozak intercepted the pass.
The play was negated when officials called Kozak for pass
interference, giving the Blue Devils a first down at the 35.
Seven plays later, Forks took the lead.
Umbra said Sidney avoided such mistakes most
of the season.
"It is uncharacteristic of us," he said.
"That's football and things like that happen. As a team, you
have to be ready for that and you have to try and overcome
that. That's what great teams do _ they overcome adversity.
To a point, we did that. We got our heads back into it, but
Forks capitalized. … It's hard to get back in it against a
great team like Forks."
- CF - Eric Singh 36y fumble return (Jimmy Miller
- S - Dylan Umbra 2y run (Andy Kozak pass from
- CF - Miller 7y run (Miller run)
- CF - Miller 1y run (Casey LaNave run)
- CF - Derek Foster 47y interception return (Tyler
Lusht pass from LaNave)
- S - Alex Heil 9y pass from Umbra (Heil pass from
- CF - Miller 12y run (run failed)
- CF - Miller 5y run (run failed)
- Dylan Umbra 14-30
- Corbin Curley 2-3
- Alex Heil 1-2
- Nate McDonald 1-0
- Andy Kozak 1-(-3)
- Ryan Lusht 11-146
- Tyler Lusht 12-102
- Jim Miller 13-66
- Ryan Lamond 4-31
- Casey LaNave 10-21
- David Van Horn 1-5
- Ethan Cook 1-5
- David Hendrickson 1-4
- Alec Fleicher 1-2
- Dylan Umbra 23-for-35, 173 yards, 2 int.
- Andy Kozak 1-for-1, 21 yards
- Josh Wilce 0-for-1
- Alex Heil 7-54
- Josh Wilce 7-54
- Andy Kozak 5-41
- Dylan Umbra 1-21
- Nate McDonald 2-9
- Mike Ward 1-9
- Corbin Curley 1-4
Forks-Sidney II: Expect more fireworks
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
When Chenango Forks and Sidney last came together on the football field, 952 yards of offense -- 606 by halftime -- and 80 points were produced in one of the most entertaining contests of the 2010 season.
The two meet again at 1 p.m. Saturday at Union-Endicott High School with Section 4's Class C championship at stake, coming off a combined 121 points in the semifinal round.
A championship tripleheader at Ty Cobb Stadium includes the Class D final pitting Delhi against Walton at 4 p.m., to be followed by Chenango Valley and Owego playing for the Class B title at 7.
"What do I expect? I expect a lot of what happed the last time," Warriors coach Jeff Matthews said of all that went into Forks' 44-36 victory, Oct. 8 at Sidney. "It's going to come down to a stop. Somebody's defense is going to have to make a stop."
Forks' major statistical contributors in the first game were fullback Jimmy Miller, who rushed 34 times for 242 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Casey LaNave, who rushed for 150 yards and passed for another 83. Sidney countered with a 294-yard, four-TD passing effort from Dylan Umbra, who has throw for 2,461 yards and 31 TDs this season.
"Sideline-to-sideline, they utilize every square inch of the field because they're able to run and catch and their quarterback can throw it 50, 60 yards down the field, and with accuracy," Forks coach David Hogan said. "I think we've got to put pressure on him. How we do that? That's a good question."
While Forks defenders' will look to put Umbra on the seat of his pants as often as possible, they must be ever mindful of having sufficient numbers devoted to coverage of his talented receivers-- Josh Wilce (35 receptions, 911 yards), Andy Kozak (36-752) and Alex Heil (38-470) leading the way.
Umbra leads Warriors rushers with 657 yards and 15 TDs.
Forks will be without linebacker Phil Hardy, who injured a knee early in last Saturday's semifinal. Alec Fleicher will again take over that spot, and while Hogan and staff are confident in Fleicher's ability, "It just makes us thinner," the coach said.
Tenth-ranked Sidney has scored 52 per game in three lopsided contests since playing Forks, with the second-ranked Blue Devils averaging 51.7 over the same three weekends.
"Defensively, they're really good at adjusting, so we've got to be ready to deal with what they've adjusted to and how they'll take away certain things," Matthews said. "Offensively, they're the masters at manipulating. From watching some film over the past couple weeks, they outnumber you, find out where you're going to be and they take advantage of what you're giving them.
"It's a chess match to figure out where you want to have your defenders."
A Section 4 championship would be Forks' ninth in the last 10 years, all but last year's in Class B. Sidney most recently topped the section in 2006, one year after claiming a state championship.
"I can't wait. They're an exciting team, they're really good-- I can't wait to play them again," Sidney's Kozak said.
By P.J. Harmer
Sidney will try to get the jump on Chenango Forks
Oneonta Daily Star
Sidney got its wish and reached the Section Four Class C football championship opposite Chenango Forks.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Warriors will have to find a way to unseat the reigning Section Four Class C football champion Blue Devils at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb Stadium.
"There is nobody better than Forks since I've been at Sidney," said 14th-year Sidney coach Jeff Matthews, whose team is 8-1. "They are the standard by which everyone plays. For us to be matched up against them and have an opportunity to win a sectional title, it will be fun to play."
It will be the second meeting between the two this season. Chenango Forks (9-0) won the first one, 44-36, on Oct. 8. The second meeting has a good chance of being just as high-scoring.
"There are a lot of thoughts going through my mind," Chenango Forks coach Dave Hogan said. "You keep rewinding what took place the first time. You think that it could very well happen again. I don't think it's what either team wants, but that's what you think it's going to be."
Chenango Forks has won eight sectional titles over the past nine seasons, mostly in Class B until dropping to Class C last season. The Blue Devils have two state titles during that span _ in 2003 and 2004. They also reached the state final in 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2007.
The Blue Devils should be considered the favorite _ they've clearly earned it _ but taking Sidney down again won't be easy.
The first thing Forks will have to get past is senior Dylan Umbra, who is having one of the finest seasons in Section Four history for a quarterback. He's completed 130 of 205 passes for 2,439 yards and 31 touchdowns. He's been intercepted five times.
Umbra is tied with former Sidney quarterback Kyle Morenus for the Section Four record for passing touchdowns in a season. In four varsity seasons, Umbra has thrown for 4,498 yards. That's 76 shy of the Section Four record set by Windsor graduate Aaron Klumpp from 1996-98.
Umbra's not just a threat through the air, either. He's also rushed 102 times for 642 yards.
"There's no question he's getting better," Hogan said. "Watch the first game against Walton and now and there's no comparison. … The chemistry with his receivers is better, which is scary for defenses. He can do it all.
"One of the toughest things for a defense is they spread you out and use the entire field," he continued. "He throws to all (of his receivers). It's not just one guy. You have to cover them all. He spreads them out and can launch the thing."
Josh Wilce tops Sidney's receivers with 34 catches for 870 yards, followed by Andy Kozak (35-785), Alex Heil (36-445) and Corbin Curley (13-220).
"You have to accept the fact that they are going to complete passes and move the ball on us," Hogan said. "It's imminent. We have to cut down on the big plays. They are a big-play machine."
It could be important for Sidney to score early.
"I like the idea of getting out of the gate quick," Matthews said. "I think we have done a nice job the past couple of weeks of coming out and starting strong. That's what we didn't do the first time. We went three-and-out the first two possessions. To get that confidence going, it will be nice to come out a little stronger."
Sidney's defense will be tested as well.
The Blue Devils feature an option offense that quarterback Casey LaNave runs to near perfection. LaNave has completed 18 of 32 passes for
369 yards this season and has rushed 75 times for 725 yards.
Jimmy Miller is Chenango Forks' other top threat on the ground, with 1,004 yards on 144 carries. Twins Ryan Lusht (61 rushes,
445 yards) and Tyler Lusht (51-362) should get plenty of touches, too.
"We are in the process of trying to figure out how to fix our keys to how we can stop them," Matthews said of his team's defensive responsibilities. "We need to make stops. Forty-four points is too many to give up. The difficult thing is they move their personnel around so much it makes it hard to get any kind of tendencies on them."
"We also need to do better in our third-and-longs," he continued. "Anything in a long situation; if we can get them off schedule, we need to capitalize and not give up a big play. That's real easy to say and real hard to do."
Hogan said he thinks Sidney's defense has improved since the first meeting.
"I can tell you this _ they have a lot of foot-speed," Hogan said. "You have a number of guys swarming to the ball. That's what we told our kids. It won't be like last time. We kind of had our way with gaining yards, but it's going to be tougher this time."
Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Forks: Never mind No. 1
Expected to be made official in a day or so is Chenango Forks' ascent to the New York State Sports Writers Association's No. 1 ranking among Class C teams.
The second-ranked Blue Devils rolled to a surprisingly one-sided 44-16 victory over Sidney for Section 4's title, a day after Jamestown Southwestern absorbed a 12-10 loss from Fredonia in the Section 6 final. Southwestern, holder of the last two Class C state championships, was top-ranked and had won 38 games in a row-- among them a 21-0 blanking of Forks in last year's semifinal round.
"It feels great, but to me it means absolutely nothing," said Jake DuBois, a three-season line starter. "It doesn't matter what we're ranked in the state, we're going to go into every game trying to do our jobs."
Coach David Hogan said, "What does it mean? Absolutely nothing, because there's a tournament.
"I don't think it's going to change anything, probably won't change anything for any opponent we'll play, either. We have to take them one at a time, and we have a group of seniors that I think understand that."
For Sidney, it marked the final game for four-season quarterback Dylan Umbra. As a senior, he passed for 32 touchdowns and better than 2,600 yards.
"Umbra's unbelievable," DuBois said. "The ability he has to put the ball in the right spots and run when he needs to, he's awesome at it. It's hard to stop him, I can tell you that personally."
Aside from two losses to Forks by a combined 88-52, the 8-2 Warriors outscored their remaining opponents by 380-107.
"I don't think we were really on the radar very much for anyone this season," Sidney coach Jeff Matthews said. "They knew we had good athletes, but I don't think we were given much of a chance to get this far. And then we started to gain some momentum and people began to have an inkling of what we might be able to do.
(3 of 3)
"Forks is a better team, and that's just how it played out."