OHS football no match for Forks
By Rob Centorani
The Oneonta Daily Star
ONEONTA — It was clear from the outset
someone other than Isaiah Zimmer was going to have to
beat Oneonta High on Friday.
Chenango Forks quarterback J.C. Sweeney
turned out to be the guy.
Sweeney rushed for 195 yards on 14
carries and scored three touchdowns as the Blue Devils
cruised to a 41-6 Section Four Football Conference
non-division victory on a warm night at Lloyd F. Baker
The Yellowjackets (0-2) dressed 21
healthy bodies and the finished the night with 20 after
senior running back Scott Conrade left with a minor back
injury in the second quarter.
"I don't think it's an issue of having
enough athletes or enough linemen," OHS coach Adam
Hoover said of his tiny roster. "I think the issue is we
don't consistently take care of our responsibilities. We
showed signs on both sides of the ball that when we take
care of our responsibilities, we do a pretty good job."
One responsibility OHS completely ignored
was stopping Sweeney, an athletic junior whose option
fakes might have been better than his runs.
Zimmer, a bruising, 190-pound fullback,
scored three touchdowns last Saturday in Forks' 35-6 win
over Unatego. Forks' option offense often centers on
But Oneonta held Zimmer to 38 yards on 11
carries in the first half.
"We wanted (Sweeney) to carry the ball,"
Hoover said. "We knew (Sweeney) was good, that's no
slight on him, but we thought if made him keep it, which
we did most the time, we were better off than just
letting the fullback run free down the field. We didn't
do a great job of pursuit after that.
"The option is tough to stop, especially
when you run it well and Forks runs it well every year,"
With Zimmer lined up about 3 yards behind
Sweeney, the quarterback would turn and put the ball in
Zimmer's belly but wouldn't let go of it. Sweeney often
followed Zimmer into the hole before pulling the ball
out, bouncing a step or two to the outside before racing
into Oneonta's secondary.
When Sweeney scored on a 13-yard run 2
minutes, 34 seconds before halftime, Oneonta's James
Longo and Taylor Rowe pulled down Zimmer about 3 yards
downfield, thinking he had the ball. No one was left to
stop Sweeney, who scored standing up into the right
corner of the end zone. That score, coupled with Forks
kicker Jack Sherwood controlling a poor snap before
lofting the two-point pass to Ryan Bronson, gave Forks a
22-6 heading into halftime.
"There's no question that (Sweeney) was
doing some baiting out there," Forks coach Dave Hogan
said. "He enticed the defense pretty well."
On the Blue Devils' first possession of
the second half, Sweeney scored from 50 yards on an
identical play. Again, Zimmer drew multiple defenders
before Sweeney pulled it out and raced untouched down
the right sideline. Sherwood's PAT made it 29-6.
Sweeney scored again on a 3-yard keeper
at the end of the third quarter and Jake Green tacked on
another Forks touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, OHS had almost no success on
the ground against the Blue Devils. Twenty-seven rushes
netted 12 yards — Conrade had a team-high 27 yards on
seven carries before his injury.
Senior quarterback Brendan Lord completed
9 of 21 passes for 117 yards and two interceptions for
The Yellowjackets' best play came midway
through the second quarter. On fourth-and-2 from the
Forks' 48, Lord dropped back before lofting a pass about
30 yards in the direction of Jonathan Vega, who made an
excellent adjustment on the ball, out-jumping a Forks
defender around the 20 before cruising into the end zone
to cut Oneonta's deficit to 14-6.
"I think there are some positives we can
take out of this game," said Hoover, whose team lost,
45-7, to Sidney in Week 1. "Overall, we played better
tonight then we did last week. The score doesn't
indicate the improvements we made. We're going to
(Chenango Valley) next week for our first division game.
With a good week of practice, I think we can go out and
get our first win of the season."