Chenango Forks Varsity Football
2 vs Norwich
Blue Devils defeat
Articles courtesy of the
Binghamton Press &
Sun-Bulletin and the Chenango Evening Sun
Forks fueled by 3 second-half TDs
Blue Devils' defense tough in 26-6 win over Norwich
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
TOWN OF CHENANGO -- Chenango Forks defenders rationed Norwich 93 yards of offense, and the Blue Devils put three touchdowns on the board in the final 14 minutes of a 26-6 non-league football victory Saturday.
Twin halfbacks Ryan and Tyler Lusht were responsible for every Forks point, and fullback Jimmy Miller turned an unexpectedly heavy workload into a game-best 102 rushing yards.
Upon conclusion, about the lone Blue Devils downer was the sight of fullback/linebacker Lukas Aston requiring assistance to get from playing field to dressing room.
Aston sustained a knee injury on the end of a 15-yard gain on Forks' second offensive play. While extent of the damage is to be determined, members of the coaching staff were none-too-optimistic.
Norwich (0-2), which has produced one offensive TD in eight quarters of play, made it a 6-6 ballgame when Seth Thomsen turned in a fabulous, this-way-and-that punt return of 83 yards for a score 4 minutes, 11 seconds into the second half. The Purple Tornado's PAT kick attempt was wide of the mark, as had been Forks' in the second quarter following the first of Tyler Lusht's three touchdowns.
Ryan Lusht received the ensuing kickoff at his 13-yard line and dashed 51 yards, mostly up the home sideline, to set up the Devils (2-0) at Norwich's 36-yard line.
An 11-play drive included conversion on fourth-and-2, an 11-yard gain by quarterback Casey LaNave on which he beautifully sold a fake and scooted around right end, and concluded with Tyler Lusht rushing in from the 3 with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
Ryan Lusht tacked on a two-point run for a 14-6 advantage.
A sound defensive stand followed, beginning with linebacker John Patwell felling fullback Tyler Hoffman for a 1-yard gain, and Norwich punted from its 32-yard line.
Forks set up at its 41 and LaNave kept the football on a first-down option play, finding space on the right side and sprinting 47 yards to the Tornado's 12. Two plays later, Ryan Lusht took a toss to the left and barged in from 8 yards for a 20-6 lead with 10:43 remaining.
The last TD was a 3-yard rush by Tyler Lusht to the left of center Jake DuBois with 4:47 to play, that finishing a nine-play possession that started at the hosts' 45.
The Blue Devils closed with 294 yards of offense, all via the rush, and have employed the forward pass once in the season's first 96 minutes of football.
Of course, suffice to say that this wheel ain't broke.
The two-game aggregate has been Forks 79, Opponents 22-- and the Devils' yardage average is a shipshape 302. That's to go with what is shaping up as an exceptional defensive unit, so far, so good at Forks.
On Saturday, Norwich had 21 plays go for no better than 2 yards. Of its 93 total yards, 28 came on a pass from reserve quarterback Nate Ashton to Patrick Taylor on its final possession.
Asked for a 1-to-10 grade of the defense, Blue Devils coach David Hogan said, "At least a 9, and I think that's probably grading tough. I think our defense played very, very well.
"All 11 players, they just play so well together. We tell our linemen up front, you don't have to make a tackle, make a pile. Don't get moved. A lot of times that's what happened out there, there was nowhere for (Norwich rushers) to go. They were trying to bounce it left, bounce it right, there was just nowhere to go.
"Our ends were coming around the corners, sometimes even safeties, making the tackles for a gain of maybe one, sometimes a loss."
Miller, a well-sculpted 5-foot-7, 180-pound senior, had been working at both halfback and fullback on the practice field-- fortunately, given 207-pound junior Aston's setback. Against Norwich, Miller turned in five gains of 8 or more yards and looked perfectly comfortable running exclusively inside.
"First half, we realized we weren't going to be able to run outside as much as we'd planned to," Miller said. "They were shutting down our sweeps. We made some adjustments at halftime. We realized that the way they were lining up, we would be able to run into the interior line and it really worked out well for me as well as both Lushts."
Ahead or Forks is the always-interesting hop across the river for a Saturday afternoon contest at Chenango Valley.
Forks 'D' shuts down Norwich, 26-6
Norwich Evening Sun
CHENANGO FORKS In two games this season,
Chenango Forks' starting quarterback Casey Lanave has not thrown
a single pass. Except for a halfback option pass in week one
against Windsor, the Blue Devils have completed eschewed any
attempts to move the ball through the air.
Forks head coach Dave Hogan smiled when he was
asked if his coaching staff contemplated throwing a pass in
Saturday's 26-6 win over Norwich. "It certainly crosses our
minds, but it's another thing to pull the trigger on it," Hogan
Why would his team need to throw the ball when
his rushing attack remains brutally efficient and effective?
Lanave executed the option offense to perfection along with
fullback Jim Miller. Miller and Lanave softened up the Norwich
defense rushing for 101 and 89 yards respectively. Those two
gave way to speedy tailbacks and twin brothers Tyler and
Ryan Lusht near the goal line. Tyler Lusht scored on runs of 4,
3, and 4 yards, and Ryan Lusht interceded on the third Forks
score rambling in from eight yards out.
Chenango Forks finished with 284 yards on the
ground, while keeping the Tornado defense busy all afternoon.
The only men on the field longer than the NHS defense were the
five officials. "We really played a pretty good first half, and
I thought we had a pretty good defensive plan," said Norwich
second-year coach, John Martinson. "In the second half, they
really hurt us off tackle, and we knew they were going there.
That's the thing, you know where someone's going, and you still
have difficulty stopping them."
Norwich spotted Chenango Forks a six-point
halftime lead when Ryan Lusht capped a 12-yard drive on a
four-yard caper. Miller, whose running never ventured beyond the
two guards on opposite sides of the center, grabbed sizable
chunks of yards during the excursion to set up the TD.
Norwich stayed within a touchdown forcing a
fumble that was recovered by Grant Brightman, holding Forks to
its lone three-and-out of the game, and then stopping a
fourth-and-five late in the first half.
The Tornado's momentum picked up early in the
third quarter thanks to a brilliant individual effort on special
teams by junior Seth Thomsen. Thomsen fielded a punt at the 17.
He caught the ball on the left side, cut up to the right, shed a
Forks tackler, then raced into open space down the left side for
the tying score. Norwich missed the extra point to remain tied.
The momentum for the visiting Purple and White
lasted a mere moment. Ryan Lusht nearly broke the ensuing
kickoff for a score returning it 55 yards to the NHS 32. Forks'
usual cast of characters Lanave, Miller, Lusht, and Lusht
roughed up the Tornado defense with steady gains, and the lead
was Chenango Forks' once more after aTyler Lusht three-yard run.
Norwich failed to gain a first down on its next
two possessions, and in fact, did not have a first down in the
second half until its last drive of the game when both clubs had
their reserves on the field.
Lanave broke a 47-yard run to the Norwich 12 on
the first play of the fourth quarter, and Ryan Lusht upped the
host's lead to 14 two plays later. Before the Chenango Forks
starters took a seat, the offense went 55 yards for its last
score, that TD coming from Tyler Lusht.
Norwich had minus-four yards of offense in the
second half until amassing 62 yards on its final drive, one that
ended with a lost fumble. For the game, Norwich totaled just 98
yards. "No doubt, our offense struggled today," Martinson said.
"They had nine guys in the box, and we tried to throw the ball a
couple of times later in the game. You saw what happened there
on the bootleg (a sack of quarterback Thomsen). They have a
stingy defense and make you earn every inch on the field. We
just weren't able to execute today."
Norwich has a short week of practice as it plays
at Vestal Thursday night.
- CF - Tyler Lusht 5y run (Kick failed)
- N - Seth Thomsen 83y punt return (Kick Failed)
- CF - T. Lusht 3y run (Ryan Lusht Run)
- CF - R. Lusht 8y run (Kick failed)
- CF - T. Lusht 3y run (Kick failed)
- Josh Favaloro 7-32
- Mackay Hotaling 6-19
- Tyler Hoffman 6-15
- Nate Ashton 1-12
- Nick McCullough 1-4
- Patrick Taylor 1-2
- Morgan Cleveland 2-(-2)
- Seth Thomsen 3-(-17)
- Jimmy Miller 19-102
- Casey LaNave 7-87
- Ryan Lusht 13-43
- Tyler Lusht 11-36
- Lukas Aston 2-22
- David Hendrickson 1-4
- Ashton 1-for-2, 28 yards
- Thomsen 0-for-2
JV Score: CF 12, Norwich 12 (CF 1-0-1)
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Norwich at Chenango Forks: Norwich pitched a shutout last week against Whitney Point, but would appear hard-pressed to repeat that against a pack of Blue Devils that chalked up 35 first-half points against Windsor
Forks coach David Hogan is well aware that Norwich possesses far greater offensive potential than was on display in last Friday's 6-0 win over the Golden Eagles.
"They probably could have scored another touchdown or two. That first series we had (against Windsor)? They had a couple of those," he said, alluding to a mess of a three-and-out to open the Windsor game.
"I think they're going to be tough."
Norwich Evening Sun
The last game Chenango Forks played in 2009, it didn’t score a point in a 21-0 Class C state semifinals loss to eventual state champion Southwestern. Many of the key offensive players from the Blue Devils return, among those are running backs Ryan and Tyler Lusht, Jimmy Miller, and Lukas Aston, and Forks erupted for 53 points in a 37-point romp over Windsor. Thirty-five of those points came in the first half as the typically stingy and opportunistic Forks defense helped set up short scoring drives. “To be honest, I was most impressed with their defense,” said Norwich coach John Martinson, who scouted the game. “They keep you out of the red zone, they win with special teams, and when they get up two touchdowns, it feels like 49 to nothing. They try to break your back on defense, and no matter what the situation is, we have to play to the whistle every down.”
While Forks was scoring five touchdowns in the first half, Norwich had none against Whitney Point, and its lone score in the third quarter was enough for a shutout victory. “Looking at the film with the kids, out of 53 plays, 16 of those we hurt ourselves,” Martinson said. “Most of those occurred near the red zone. Finishing drives will be the key to our success.”
Norwich has not beaten Chenango Forks since the 1999 season when the Tornado captured the Section IV, Class B title. Martinson is well aware of the drought, but has not made it a focus of his team’s game preparation. “Right now, it’s all about self-improvement and preparing for the division games,” Martinson said. “If we can’t take of the mistakes we made in our own house, we’re going to have trouble going to other people’s house and beating them.”
Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Forks lineup altered
Press & Sun-Bulletin
Chenango Forks expects to be without starting fullback/linebacker Lukas Aston for the foreseeable future as result of knee ligament damage he sustained during Saturday's 26-6 victory over Norwich.
Aston was injured on the Blue Devils' second offensive play, when he rushed for 15 yards.
Coach David Hogan said an MRI revealed ligament damage, and that Aston is scheduled to see a physician again in two weeks.
"He's still very sore and he's on crutches this week," said Hogan, who was uncertain with regard to a target date for Aston's return. " ... We just feel bad for Lukas, especially when a kid cares that much about football."
Full-time fullback chores will go to Jimmy Miller, who rushed for a game-high 102 yards against Norwich. Phil Hardy, who was a part of a rotation at linebacker, will see increased time there, with Alec Fleicher and Travis Barnett available to work in at that position as well.
"I've been working both (halfback and fullback) in practice, but this is a wake-up call that I'm going to have a big load to carry at fullback," Miller said.