Chenango Forks shuts down Newark Valley with strong running, solid defense
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
NEWARK VALLEY — Chenango Forks coupled a methodically
effective running game with mostly-sound team defense Saturday to knock
off previously unbeaten Newark Valley, 35-14, in Division III football.
Isaiah Zimmer rushed for 148 yards and three
touchdowns for the Blue Devils, who’ve strung three comfortable
victories since being blanked in Week 2 at Tioga Central.
Odd as it may be to suggest Forks was tested given the
three-TD difference, the Devils left with a good bit of respect for the
Cardinals — who rang up 321 yards of offense and, get this, forced three
“We knew they had players, four or five especially
that really stuck out. So, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said
coach David Hogan, whose Forks squad has limited all five foes to 14
points or fewer.
“We got down at the beginning and our kids came back,”
Newark Valley coach Brian Sherwood said. “I thought we had a great
second half, kids made the adjustments, listened and played hard.
“We’re getting there.”
Just maybe, it took the Cardinals a bit to settle in
and simply play football against the likes of Chenango Forks, which has
posted two-digit win totals 10 of the last 12 seasons and has 11
state-playoff appearances to none for Newark Valley.
The Blue Devils’ first four possessions brought 199
rushing yards and four touchdowns, two of them by Zimmer, a
powerful-yet-nimble 190-pounder for whom Cardinals defenders had little
answer before halftime.
The football was handed or tossed by quarterback John
Colm Sweeney to Zimmer on 14 of Forks’ first 19 offensive plays, and the
result was an average 5.7-yard gain.
Yes, predictable as a snowy February — but highly
“We were hoping to keep him under 120, so that tells
you what kind of running back he is right there,” Sherwood said.. “You
know he’s going to carry the ball anywhere from 26 to 40 times a game,
and often you know where he’s going and we were there — but he would
“It’s more of a problem that he has that ability to
bounce to the next hole. He can run into his own blockers and change
direction, too. He’s a heck of an athlete. And he never gets tired.”
Zimmer’s nifty footwork and refusal to go down on an
initial hit in concert with quality work turned in up front — a
couple-season staple of Forks’ offense — was the theme of Saturday’s
The first two touchdowns were his doing, on rushes of
3 yards early on and 6 yards four plays into the second quarter.
The third TD came on freshman L.J. Watson’s second
carry, a 49-yard beauty on which he took a toss left, found space along
the guests’ sideline and outraced defenders across the goal line.
It became a four-touchdown difference — 28-0, with
sure-footed Tony Silvanic converting extra points — when Sweeney turned
what appeared pass intentions into a 6-yard rushing TD that began on an
inside path 1:41 before halftime.
Newark Valley (4-1) struck on the next play from
scrimmage when quarterback Vinnie Darpino accelerated quickly through an
inside gap and sprinted 71 yards for a score that most certainly grabbed
the attention of Forks coaches.
“I think we did something we shouldn’t have done,”
Hogan said. “That’s not to take credit away from their play but, nobody
should be able to score on a (71-yard) quarterback sneak — nobody.”
A scoreless third quarter brought punts of 38 and 55
yards by Zimmer, and a 50-yard Newark Valley drive that went south on
the 12th play when a fourth-and-8 pass fell incomplete.
Zimmer’s third touchdown came on a 21-yard rush on
which he started inside and negotiated craftily right into space. The
Cardinals’ Trevor Hoffmier took a toss play 10 yards for the final TD
with 3:03 remaining.
Darpino closed with 100 rushing yards on nine carries
and Larry Kasmarcik another 73 on 10 carries for Newark Valley, which
visits Whitney Point on Friday night.
Watson’s five rushed gained 81 yards for Forks, which
hosts Greene on Saturday.