- Joe Peters 4-12
- Jake Hogan 1-4
- Colton Miller 1-2
- Jacob Goble 1-0
- Peyton Miller 10-(-12)
- Isaiah Zimmer 25-219 4 TD
- Ryan Bronson 8-63 1 TD
- Cody Lamond 3-38 1 TD
- JC Sweeney 5-30
- Tony Silvanic 4-25
- Alex Freije 3-23
- Gunnar Giordani 4-20
- Dylan Studer 1-8
- Sean Miller 1-5
- James Pattwell 1-3 1 TD
- Peyton Miller, 15-for-26, 170y, 2 TDs
- Dylan Perry 5-90 2 TDs
- Ryan McFarland 4-43
- Tyler Wolcott 1-18
- Tim Sutton 2-12
- Alex Volpe 2-9
- Zack Saxon 1-(-2)
Forks' Zimmer presents challenge for Waverly defense
Press & Sun-Bulletin
The player most responsible for depriving Waverly of back-to-back Section 4 Class C football titles last year, Chenango Forks fullback Isaiah Zimmer, will again be a focal point for the Wolverines’ defense in the rematch.
The 190-pound senior ran for 174 yards and four touchdowns in last year’s 28-27 win, including a two-point conversion in overtime that ended the Wolverines’ season.
He enters today’s 3 p.m. Class C final at Binghamton Alumni Stadium with 1,341 yards and 21 touchdowns on 187 carries this season. Last week he had season-highs of 40 carries and 249 yards in a 48-26 semifinal win over Lansing.
Waverly (7-2) will counter with a pass-oriented offense under the direction of 5-foot-9 sophomore quarterback Peyton Miller, son of head coach Jason Miller. Last week he completed 18 of 23 passes for 219 yards in a 25-20 semifinal win over Newark Valley.
Forks (8-1) surrendered 264 passing yards to Lansing, though Jason Miller doesn’t take that as a reason to believe the Blue Devils are vulnerable in coverage.
Lansing presents huge matchup problems because of their size more than anything else, and that quarterback is elusive in the backfield and has a strong arm,” he said. “Certainly (Forks) is the best-prepared team around. That we would be excited about coming out and throwing the ball, there’s none of that.”
Miller added, “We’re going to have to find a way to control the ball. It’s going to be tough for us to run it. We’ll put a game plan together — but I’m really happy to have to put a game plan together and play into November.”
Chenango Forks has won seven straight since a 7-0 loss to Class D finalist Tioga in Week 2. The Blue Devils have scored at least 28 points in every other game.
Waverly’s losses came to Harpursville, 28-14, in Week 2 and Chenango Valley, 31-21, in Week 6.
Class C: Chenango Forks vs. Waverly
Third-ranked Chenango Forks will target the program’s fourth Section 4 Class C championship in a five-season span beginning at 3 p.m. against Waverly.
It’ll be a rematch of last season’s ‘C’ finale, in which the Blue Devils’ Isaiah Zimmer punctuated a 174-yard, four-TD rushing effort by powering in for a two-point conversion to complete a 28-27 overtime win.
Zimmer is coming off season highs of 40 carries and 249 yards against Lansing— the 40 rushes improving upon his program record.
Zimmer has rushed for 1,341 yards this season on a 7.2-per-carry average.
The Blue Devils won that semifinal by 48-26 over Lansing, but in the process surrendered 264 passing yards. Waverly quarterback Peyton Miller was 18-for-23 in a 219-yard passing day in the Wolverines’ 25-20 semifinal win over Newark Valley.
“Lansing presents huge matchup problems because of their size more than anything else, and that quarterback is elusive in the backfield and has a strong arm,” said Waverly coach Jason Miller. “Certainly (Forks) is the best-prepared team around. That we would be excited about coming out and throwing the ball, there’s none of that.”
Miller added, “We’re going to have to find a way to control the ball. It’s going to be tough for us to run it. We’ll put a game plan together— but I’m really happy to have to put a game plan together and play into November.”
The winner moves on to a state quarterfinal scheduled for noon next Saturday at U-E against either General Brown (8-1) or Watertown IHC (9-0).
WAVERLY SQUARES OFF WITH FORKS AT ALUMNI STADIUM
By Tim Birney
Valley Sports Report
BINGHAMTON — In a rematch of last year's Section IV, Class C championship game, Waverly will square off with state-ranked Chenango Forks here Saturday at 3 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.
The Blue Devils, 8-1 and ranked third in the State, have outscored their opponents 379-96 this season. Aside from their loss to Tioga, they have beaten their opponents by an average of 47.4 to 11.1.
The Wolverines enter the contest at 7-2 and earned honorable mention recognition in the latest state rankings. They have outscored their opponents by an average of 30.4 to 17.9.
In last year's Class C title game, Forks won a classic, 28-27, overtime decision. The Blue Devils have won 10 consecutive championship game appearances.
Waverly coach Jason Miller, who has just one player in uniform from last year's game, said it has no bearing on Saturday's title tilt.
"I really think it's past history. It's such past history to us because we have such a different team.
"On the other side of it," said Miller. "(Forks) has 21 kids retuning that were part of that game last year. We have absolutely zero on defense returning from that game.
"Our kids, in no shape or form, know what playing Forks is all about," added Miller.
The Wolverines enter the contest averaging 321.7 yards per game, including 168.7 yards per game on the ground.
Junior tailback Joey Peters leads the Waverly rushing attack with 552 yards and three TDs, while sophomore QB Peyton Miller, who has back-to-back 100-yard games, has 449 yards and a team-high nine TDs.
Miller has also completed 61.8 percent (102 of 165) of his passes for 1,377 yards and 19 TDs, while being intercepted just twice.
Coach Miller believes his son, Peyton, will face his biggest challenge of the season Saturday against a Forks defense that has allowed just six points in the first quarter all season.
"It's an enormous challenge. We're going up against some of the best defensive minds in the State in Dave Chickanosky and Kelsey Greene.
"What we'll see is an enormous amount of pressure," said Miller. "They have so many stunts in their stunt packages, especially from their inside linebackers. We'll see a lot of twist stunts up front and blitzes and they're gap sound, whenever they blitz they don't leave a gap unattended.
"They're also really great at bull-rushing straight up the field, trying to get into your face and that's just the front end.
"On the back end they're one thing pre-snap and post-snap, they could be another — that's challenging for a young quarterback," said Miller. "It's one thing to get a pre-snap read and have that hold true. It's a whole different ball game to see one thing pre-snap and another thing post-snap.
"It's going to be a challenge," he added.
In last weekend's win over Lansing in the semifinals, Forks allowed 264 yards through the air to Bobcat QB Elijah Burns.
"I don't put much stock in Lansing's performance as it pertains to us," said Miller. "A lot of their completions were created by their quarterback (Elijah Burns), whether it be on a bootleg or a scramble — there was a lot of improvisation in getting out of the pocket," said Miller. "A lot of the completions went to the big tight end, who simply had a size advantage over the defenders.
"Quite frankly, Forks is not soft in the secondary," said Miller. "Two of their starters played all the way through the State semifinals last year and those were the two kids making the plays in the quarterfinals against Skaneateles and in the semifinals against Hornell."
There's still a bit of uncertainty facing the Wolverines.
"There are several formations we have that no one has run them, so we really don't know what kind of coverages we'll see.
"One thing I'm really sure of is (Forks) is going to bring pressure and that presents a real challenge for our offensive line," said Miller. "A lot of teams have resorted to bringing six, sometimes even seven and when they do that it results in zero-coverage or man-to-man coverage.
"Peyton (Miller) has been sacked twice in nearly 200 throws — that's remarkable," added Miller. "It has a lot to do with his offensive line and his quick-decision making. That's one thing we stress, make a quick decision and get rid of it."
Chenango Forks enters Saturday's contest averaging 379.7 yards in total offense, including 303.1 yards per game on the ground.
Senior fullback Isaiah Zimmer, coming off a 249-yard, three-TD performance against Lansing last weekend, leads the way for Forks with 1,342 yards and 21 TDs on the season.
Last year, Zimmer pounded out 178 yards on 37 carries against the Wolverines.
"It keeps you up at night. (Isaiah) Zimmer carried the ball 37 times last year, he may carry it 57 times Saturday," said Miller.
"He is what makes their offense go, but (Forks) has an element of speed added this year in freshman L.J. Watson that keeps you very honest. This kid is lightning fast.
"And, J.C. Sweeney is a three-year starter at quarterback. He runs the triple and mid-line option and they're throwing the ball a lot more than they ever have.
"Hopefully, we get them in a down-and-distance situation — that's what we have to do," said Miller. "We have to be good on first and second downs.
"We know exactly what we have to do, it's just a matter of executing," he added.
Miller believes his defense has improved, but knows it will need to be at its best Saturday.
"One thing that has continued to improve is the play of (defensive tackles) Ryan Wolcott and Joe Bennett," said Miller. "Moving (Jeff) Klossner in there adds an element of strength and brute force. Those guys are going to have to play a heckuva game.
"Our inside linebackers are going to have to play well, too. They're going to have to make the quarterback a little bit indecisive on the option. If we can do that, maybe we have a chance.
"The bottom line is we have to tackle well. We have to shed blocks and get to the football," Miller added.
The longtime Wolverines coach concedes his teams may have to do some things differently.
"We're going to have to take some more risks," he said. "We're pretty basic on defense. We don't believe in blitzing and taking a lot of risks on defense — that's part of the philosophy of keeping the ball in front of us and pursuing the ball
"I don't think we have that luxury this week," added Miller. "We're going to have to take some chances."
Miller says Forks is "hands down" the best team Waverly has faced this season.
"We're certainly the underdog this week, but winning these last three games has created a sense of confidence in these kids I don't think they've ever had in any sport," he said. "We've prepared as we normally do and we're going to go out and play the best we can."
Class C Championship
Waverly (7-2) vs. Chenango Forks (8-1), 3 p.m. at Alumni Stadium: The Wolverines have exceeded nearly everyone's expectations in 2013 and a win today would be monumental.
The Wolverines were opportunistic in their semi-final win over Newark Valley and will need to force a few turnovers today as well.
Forks advanced to the final with a convincing win over Lansing, despite allowing 264 passing yards.
Prediction: Waverly's only real weakness has been the power running game, which is right in Chenango Forks' wheelhouse. I would wager the Wolverines will get a heavy dose of Blue Devil fullback Isaiah Zimmer this afternoon. Zimmer nearly unstoppable last year against a Waverly defense that had better numbers against the run. Chenango Forks 36, Waverly 20.
Published Tuesdays in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
New rushing king at Forks
Chenango Forks' record book needed an update in the wake of Saturday's 49-15 victory against Waverly for Section 4's Class C championship.
Senior fullback Isaiah Zimmer's 219 rushing yards came on 29 carries and pushed him to the top of the Blue Devils' single-season rushing chart. He has 1,560 yards in 10 games.
The record had been held by Tim Jenks, who in 1972 went for 1,532 yards in nine games. And, yes, Zimmer was able to recite name, year and yardage total post-gamer with regard to the previous standard.
As impressive as was Forks' run game, which generated 434 of the team's 441 yards offense, equally up to the task was the Blue Devils' defense.
With defensive MVP Mike Zurenda among the individual standouts, the Devils held Waverly scoreless through three quarters. That was the same Waverly squad that had put up an average of slightly better than 30 points per game.
"We practiced a bunch of different schemes, so we had some options," coach David Hogan said. "We didn't know what was going to work the best, so we just ... we just -- we played well on defense, that's all I can say. We talked about how one of the best pass defenses is a good pass rush, and we undoubtedly did that."
Waverly had five first-half plays go for negative yardage, with quarterback sacks by Zurenda accounting for two of them. In the third quarter, the Wolverines netted 1 yard of offense on seven plays (excluding two punts), a total that factored in a sack by John Hardy that felled Peyton Miller 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: WAVERLY'S MILLER TIPS HIS CAP TO FORKS AFTER SEASON-ENDING LOSS (2013-11-21)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — More than a week removed from his team's season-ending loss to Chenango Forks in the Section IV, Class C championship game, Waverly coach Jason Miller is feeling a little better about the loss.
A week after the Wolverines' 49-15 loss to Forks, the Blue Devils advanced to the State semifinals with a convincing 35-16 win over General Brown in a game that was not as close as the final score indicates.
"I walked off the field (after our loss) not feeling very good, but to see Forks turn around the next week and do the same thing in the State quarterfinals does make me feel a little better," said Miller.
"The buzz around General Brown coming into their game with Forks was that they were good — big and physical and ranked 6th in the State.
"And, Forks manhandled them, just like they did us," added Miller. "They are as good as advertised."
As for the Wolverines loss, it was a case of his team not being able to build any momentum.
"We just didn't make anything happen in the game.
"Physically, they just handled us at every position," said Miller. "It doesn't matter where, they were just stronger than us.
"They're a good team. They have a lot of experience.
"We knew going in, it was going to be a tough run for us," added Miller. "In those types of games, you have to get momentum early and make things happen and get the kids believing they can win. We didn't do anything in that game to do that."
Offensively, Waverly sophomore QB Peyton Miller completed 16 of 28 passes for 166 yards and two TDs, but was victimized by five drops, including three in the first quarter.
"The drops were just part of it.," said Jason Miller. "The same people with the drops were very consistent in the weeks prior in getting us to that game.
"The drops get you off schedule," he said. "We were just not going to be able to run the ball against them, so we we relied much more on the pass.
"The drops were a part of it, but I don't think it made a difference in the outcome of the game," added Miller. "Forks gave us the underneath routes, so we had to be consistent staying on schedule because the way they were playing off us, we weren't going to complete passes down field."
Miller said Forks defended the pass better than he anticipated.
"Forks was much better than I thought in the secondary. I really thought we'd be able to hit some big plays down field when it mattered.
"Later in the game, we hit a post and that was really our game plan, but we couldn't get off their corners," said Miler. "They did a pretty good job of bracketing the outside receiver.
"For the most part, I thought we passed the ball pretty well," he added. "We just couldn't run the ball and I knew right away that would be the case, they were just that much bigger and stronger up front."
Defensively, the Wolverines stopped Forks on its first possession and appeared to stop them again on their second drive, but a face mask call on what would have been a drive-ending fourth-down play gave the Blue Devils new life. They turned the opportunity into seven points, then forced a quick turnover to put the Wolverine defense behind the 8-ball in their own territory.
"We're just trying to make a play," said Miller. "We had the quarterback sacked and raked his face mask
"We needed a stop like that to get the momentum, but just didn't make the play. It was just one play of many that didn't go our way.
"And then we had the fumble off the tight end screen, that was a huge play, too," aded Miller. You can't give Forks the ball at the 34-yard-line. Those two plays together really made it tough for us."
With the game out of hand, Miller said he was able to get some younger players postseason experience in the fourth quarter.
"We got some JV kids into a playoff game in a nice atmosphere," said Miller. "Although it's not very much, it goes a long way."
GRADE FOR WEEK 10: B. "We just didn't execute that well. I know it had a lot to do with what Forks was doing, but making those kinds of mistakes don't warrant a very good grade," said Miller. "If we're going to be honest, those are the mistakes you can't make in a big game."