2016 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 1 vs Tioga

The Blue Devils dismantle Tioga 55-12!
Win is CF's nineteenth straight season opening victory!

Articles courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin & Valley Sports Report

to the 2016 team page

To Game 2 - Union-Endicott

For openers, no stopping Chenango Forks
- Kevin Stevens, kstevens@pressconnects.com @PSBKevin

Make that 19 consecutive season-opening victories for Chenango Forks’ football program, and this one indisputably among the most striking.

How about nearly 16 yards per carry? Neither a punt nor a fumble? Six touchdowns of 40 or more yards, half of those 60 or better?

Darned devilish, one might suggest, particularly across from a defending state champion.

The Blue Devils put a 55-12 thumping on Tioga Central, reigning Class D kingpin but clearly overmatched on a sunny Saturday at Forks. The Blue Devils were bigger, faster, stronger­ oh, and they had L.J.

Watson, that is, not only one of the Section 4 Football Conference’s finest athletes but possessor of a running style that is … well … sort of …

“I don’t know if you have words to describe that. He’s the total package,” Forks coach David Hogan said of Watson, who rushed nine times ­ once after halftime ­ for 195 yards and two scrumptious touchdowns. “He’s so strong, he’s elusive, he has great vision, he has great speed and he’s a great blocker, too.

“Of course he’s a great defensive player as well. We’re fortunate to have him on our team.”

But get this: Watson was merely one of four Blue Devils who contributed those TD strikes from 40 or beyond. He turned in two, but so did Seth Bush, whose delightful 43-yard weave through punt-coverage traffic with 4:29 elapsed gave the home team a touchdown advantage before center Ryan Ehrets snapped the football.

Ehrets, buy the way, along with guards Dustin Gould and Tiernen Joseph and tackles Joey Aldrich and Brandin Paulhamus, played fabulous football against some fine Tioga Central athletes. Those quick guys do not gain 15.77 yards per pop if not for 1,300 or so pounds worth of quality work.

Four players gained 70 or more yards for Forks, which attempted one pass in its first outing as a Class B member following three consecutive Class C state-championship seasons.

Tioga, meanwhile, was limited to 2.8 yards per rush but demonstrated a passing game sure to give Class D opponents fits_ particularly when the Tigers throw when they choose to, rather than because they have to.

Junior Connor Hutchinson completed nine of 15 passes for 161 yards­ and go ahead and put a thumb on the last time a Tioga football team went Air Aiello to that extent.

This one got away from the Tigers in a few-minute span of the opening quarter.

Tioga followed Bush’s opening score with a three-and-out possession, thanks largely to Watson and fellow defender Paulhamus, and Forks took the football at the Tigers’ 42-yard line. Watson negotiated defensive congestion for 32 yards on second down and fullback Tim McDonald carried in from the 2 a down later.

Another nothing-happening Tioga series ensued, and a 45-yard punt left the Devils 75 yards of turf from the goal line. Sixty-four of those were covered on the mini-drive’s third play, when Watson was gifted space galore to get into the secondary and say bye-bye to defenders. Bryant LaMere’s third of seven successful PAT kicks had Forks up by 21-0 with 9 1-2 minutes elapsed.

“When I cut through the hole they made some great blocks,” Watson said. “The cut-back is a great thing when it’s always there. When you get into the open field, you’ve just got to turn it up and get into the end zone.”

The Tigers put together a wonderfully called and executed 18-play drive overlapping the first and second quarters that earned them a snap from inside the 2-yard line before Connor Borchardt felled Zach Blayda after a fourth-down gain of 18 inches.

The Devils proceeded to cover those 99 yards in eight plays, the last a 69-yard dash by Watson. He started inside, saw a little something, drifted toward the home sideline and cruised in for a TD rush that left him 183 yards six carries 22 1-2 minutes into his senior season.

The next snap brought Tioga’s initial points, a 70-yard catch-and-run by Klossner. He made a reception over and behind a defender near the 40-yard line smack in front of Forks’ bench, and there’s no chasing down this kid. None.

A 28-6 halftime difference ballooned to 42-6 on the strength of two more long TD scoots. The first was supplied by McDonald­ and a gem of a run it was on a simple dive play. He nearly stumbled forward to the turf shortly into the gain but gathered his footing, motored his way near the end zone and somehow sidestepped a sprinting Klossner to finish a 55-yard score on the third quarter’s second play.

On the fourth-to-last play of the quarter, Bush jetted 72 yards on a rush that began inside, as so many of Forks’ do­ further illustration of the Blue Devil big boys’ superiority.

“Our backs I’m sure are thanking them all the time_ they should,” Hogan said. “There were a lot of holes. I know we have speed but, my gosh, we had some holes today.”

The last of the big-chunk scores came from LaMere, who accepted a toss left and zipped 69 yards for six two plays into the final quarter. And we’ll go ahead and blame fatigue for his subsequent failure to convert the PAT.

“It’s very important because now our confidence is high, we’ve all seen what we can do when we come out on the field and now we’re going to expect that every week,” Watson said of season-opening success.

“We’ll enjoy this one first and then move on to U-E,” Hogan said of the Devils’ Week 2 assignment.


By TIM BIRNEY - Valley Sports Report

KATTELVILLE, N.Y. ­ In a battle of returning state champions, Chenango Fork was simply dominant in a 55-12 drubbing of Tioga here Saturday afternoon in Section IV football action.

The Blue Devils pounded out 496 yards on the ground on just 32 carries, including five TD runs of 55 yards or more.

"Fortunately, we have some guys up front who stay on blocks and we have guys in the backfield who run hard," said Forks coach Dave Hogan, who coached the Blue Devils to their third consecutive Class C state title last year.

"Offensively, we did very well and I though defensively we played very well, too. We stuck to our game plan.

"That was a great start for us," added Hogan.

Tioga coach Nick Aiello, whose Tigers walked off the field last November as Class D state champions, has been on the other end of these lopsided decision on a regular basis over his first six years on the sidelines at Tioga. However, Saturday's loss was by far the worst of his career.

"It's unchartered water for us," said Aiello.

"When I woke up this morning, I thought it could go two ways, he noted. "I thought we could give them a game if we showed up to play, or it could go this way."

Aiello said his team's defensive woes boiled down to a lack of intensity and an inability to tackle.

"(Forks) is too good," he said. "You can't show up flat and you can't play that soft on defense when you play against a team like that and that's exactly what happened today ­ we were flat and soft."

Forks standout tailback L.J. Watson rushed for 195 yards on nine carries, including first-half TD runs of 64 and 69 yards, and Tim McDonald added 87 yards and two TDs on nine carries, including a 55-yard TD run.

Seth Bush added a 72-yard TD run for the Blue Devils, and Bryant LaMere busted loose on a 69-yard
TD jaunt.

On all but McDonald's TD run, the Forks back was untouched into the second level, made a move and was untouched into the Tioga end zone.

"That's on us," said Aiello. "Granted, they are good, but we played so soft on defense and our tackling was atrocious. We just made it way too easy for them."

The game started rather ominously for the Tigers when the opening kickoff bounced over Zach Blayda's head to the goal line, where he scooped it up and worked his way back to the 20 with a nifty return. However, a block-in-back penalty at the Tioga 2 left the Tigers with the ball at their own 1.

After runs of eight yards by Nick Klossner and 18 yards by Blayda moved the ball out of the shadow of the goal post, the Forks defense raised up and forced a Tioga punt on 4th-and-24.

Bush fielded the low, line-drive punt and broke through the Tiger coverage for a 43-yard return for a TD with 7:31 left in the first quarter.

McDonald scored 2 1/2 minutes later on a 2-yard TD run, and Watson scored on a 64-yard TD run with 2:33 left in the first quarter to give Forks a 21-0 lead.

Tioga re-grouped and put together an 18-play, 70-yard drive that chewed up more than 8 1/2 minutes off the game clock.

The drive included a pair of fourth-down conversions, including a 12-yard pass from junior QB Connor Hutchinson to junior Nick Klossner on fourth-and-10. Hutchinson was 4-for-5 for 45 yards on the possession.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Blue Devils stopped Tioga inside the 1 on its third fourth-down attempt in the drive.

Eight plays later, Watson ripped off a 69-yard TD run to make it 28-0 with 1:30 left in the first half.

Moments later, the Tigers were on the board following a 70-yard TD pass from Hutchinson to Klossner. A missed PAT kick left Tioga behind 28-6 at the half.

On the second play of the second half, McDonald emerged from a pack of would-be tacklers and rumbled 55 yards for a TD to make it 35-6 just 37 seconds into the third quarter.

Trailing 49-6 after the TD runs by Bush and LaMere, the Tigers put together their second scoring drive of the game ­ an eight-play, 59-yard drive, capped by Blayda's 2-yard TD run with 6:09 left in the game.

Hutchinson led the Tigers offensively, completing 8 of 13 passes for 144 yards and one TD.

"We know what Connor (Hutchinson) can give us, but he's only one guy," said Aiello. "If we rely on that every single game, teams will just key on him. We need to find some skill guys who are looking to execute and really play."

Klossner led Tioga's receiving corps with three catches for 90 yards, while Tyler Whitmore had two grabs for 25 yards, Blayda hauled in two receptions for 18 yards, and Trey Floyd had one catch for 11 yards.

Tioga rushed for 123 yards on 41 carries in the loss with six different running backs getting touches, led by Blayda's 43 yards on 13 carries, and Klossner's 37 yards on 10 carries.

"Offensively, once the game got out of hand, we started rotating guys in," said Aiello. "We need to find someone who is going to hit the hole wit their eyes up. I still don't know if we've answered that question yet, but we'll find out next week."

Tioga returns to action Saturday afternoon at Newark Valley.

01 02 03 04   Tot
Chenango Forks 21 7 14 13 - 55
Tioga 0 6 0 6 - 12
  • CF - Seth Bush 43y punt return. (Bryant LaMere kick)
  • CF - Tim McDonald 2y run. (LaMere kick)
  • CF - LJ Watson 64y run. (LaMere kick)
  • CF - Watson 69y run. (LaMere kick)
  • Ti - Nick Klossner 70y pass from Connor Hutchinson. (kick failed)
  • CF - McDonald 55y run. (LaMere kick)
  • CF - Bush 72y run. (LaMere kick)
  • CF - LaMere 69y run. (LaMere kick failed)
  • Ti - Zach Blayda 2y run. (kick failed)
  • CF - Derek Carely 1y run. (LaMere kick)


  Tio CF
First Downs 10 13
Rushes-Yards 39-110 31-489
Passing Yards 161 0
Comp-Att-Int 9-15-0 0-1-0
Total Offense 48-271 32-489
Punts-Ave yards 4-35.3 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-35 1-2


Tioga rushing

  • Zach Blayda         13-41,  1 TD
  • Nick Klossner        8-35
  • Connor Hutchinson    7-13
  • Tyler Whitmore       4-10
  • Skylar Jorgenson     1-5
  • Justin rockwell      5-3
  • Max Johnson          1-3

Chenango Forks rushing

  • LJ Watson            9-195, 2 TDs
  • Tim McDonald         8-80,  2 TDs
  • Seth Bush            1-72,  1 TD         
  • Bryant LaMere        2-71,  1 TD
  • Jeremiah Allen       4-24
  • Kris Borelli         2-21  
  • Sean Wiser           1-10  
  • Nick Boyle           2-9
  • Dale Raeder          1-6
  • Derek Carley         1-1,   1 TD      

Tioga passing

  • Connor Hutchinson 9-for-15 161y, 1 TD, 0 int.

Chenango Forks passing

  • Cody Bogue 0-for-1, 0y, 0 TDs, 0 int.

Tioga receiving

  • Nick Klossner       3-92,  1 TD
  • Zach Balyda         3-32
  • Tyler Whitmore      2-26
  • Trey Floyd          1-11

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • none

JV Score:  CF 35, Unatego/Franklin 14

Preview Article(s) 

Stately clash highlights Week 1 of HS football

- Kevin Stevens, kstevens@pressconnects.com @PSBKevin

Section 4 football followers will once again be served up an early-season matchup pitting one reigning state champion against another.

Opening weekend of high school football in New York brings a hometown treat in the form of a 1:30 Saturday contest bringing together Tioga Central's defending Class D champions and host Chenango Forks' reigning Class C champions. The Blue Devils have been elevated to Class B for the first time since 2008, a switch that will bring abundant twists and challenges.

Chenango Forks, which has won 18 consecutive season openers and strung 23 winning seasons, holds records for state-playoff victories (26), state-playoff games (35) and championship game appearances (nine). They've claimed the last three Class C state titles.

Tioga, which followed four consecutive state-semifinal setbacks with the 2015 championship, has a 7-4 state-playoff record.

The programs have a combined 90-10 record from 2012 season tGrade-A B-roll

Possibly unprecedented and absolutely extraordinary is the look of the middle of Section 4's five football enrollment classifications.

Three programs coming off 2015 sectional championships will this season share space in Class B— defending champion Waverly, Maine-Endwell and Chenango Forks. The latter two won 'A' and 'C' titles, respectively, last autumn. At least two will have turned in their uniforms and equipment prior to state playoffs.

"I don't think that's good for our section, that's for sure," Gallagher said. "But I think our section has always played where our enrollment puts us, that's what we've been doing and that's what we're doing this year. Unfortunately for our section, three defending section champions end up in the same class. And it's not just them, there are other teams that are pretty darned good, too.

"It'll be a battle but we're all in the same boat. We'll just have to stay healthy, progress through the year and see what happens come weeks 9 and 10."

Forks' Hogan sized up his program playing as a Class B member for the first time since the year he succeeded Kelsey Green as head coach.

"It's going to be different and it's going to be more challenging, I think especially, three sectional champions playing in the same classification, that's tough because there's only going to be one going on — and there are other good teams in that class that could win it, not just the returning sectional champions," he said.

As for either Forks or M-E — together producers of seven state titles over the last five years — ruled out of state playoffs?

"That's the only downside," Hogan said. "It really is unfortunate. And you could say the same thing with Waverly. But we're just over the 'C' line and (M-E) is just under the 'A' line and unfortunately that's just the way it falls."

Dates to circle

Friday, Binghamton at Union-Endicott: It may not hold the allure of decades past, but Patriots vs. Tigers in football will never grow old. The Pats defeated U-E, 21-15, in Week 4 of last season.

Sept. 9, Chenango Forks at Union-Endicott: The Blue Devils have taken on opponents representing 81 schools, none named Union-Endicott.

Sept. 10, Waverly at Chenango Valley: It'll be the first football game played on Chenango Valley's new field, which brings to seven the total of synthetic surfaces used for high school football in Broome County. Oh, and a meeting of team that split 2015 contests.

Sept. 16: Forks at Waverly: L.J. Watson and the rest of Forks' secondary members will attempt to tag the Wolverines' Brendyn Stillman, one of the section's finest receivers.

Sept. 30: Elmira at Binghamton: Well, for those into piles of points, anyway. Last time these two met, 114 were put up.

Oct. 7: Vestal at Union-Endicott: Nowhere near as big as it once was, but still significant.

Oct. 8:Elmira at Maine-Endwell: Last season's Section 4 'AA' and 'A' champions.

Oct. 22: Chenango Forks at Chenango Valley: The streak's got to end some time, no?

Nov. 4 or 5, Section 4 Class B final: Read above.o the present.

"I definitely think it's a good thing," Forks coach David Hogan said of the champ-versus-champ opener. "These are games that should be played, I think this is what makes our section stronger. You're playing against the best teams in the section, you've got to raise the bar and work to try to beat that team. I think that's part of why Section 4 is doing so well lately."

And never mind the difference in school enrollment.

"We don't talk about it. They've been a D since I've known and when they play up they seem to do fine," Hogan said. "Doesn't matter to them, either."

A pair of Forks seniors have started for three state-championship seasons, center/defensive lineman Ryan Ehrets and halfback/safety L.J. Watson. Pressure to repeat?

"I feel pressure, even in the previous years I have. But honestly I just go out and play as I know I can and that pushes me through it," Watson said.

The two are among seven Forks returners who started last season. They'll be among defenders tasked with clamping down on a Tioga running game featuring Nick Klossner, Zach Blayda and Tyler Whitmore.

"We see very good blocking from them, as always. I think they have some speed, as usual," Hogan said of the Tigers. "But it's tough. Based on what they've done in the past is kind of what we're going with. I don't think they're going to change much."

Spartans reload

For the first time in four seasons, Maine-Endwell begins with no state championship to defend, and there is no win streak on which to build.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at M-E between the Spartans and Chenango Valley, the home team's first contest since absorbing a state-semifinal loss to Buffalo South Park that halted a state-record 62-game win streak.

"What I like is the fact we don't look like a team that returns only a couple starters on either side of the football," said coach Matt Gallagher. "Guys who are going to be starting for us look like veterans, they've put the time in in the offseason and obviously did their work in the preseason to get ready to go and understand what our offense does and what our defense does. I'm super-excited about that."

The characteristically ground-oriented offense will accentuate the talents of fullback Cordell Woolfolk and Micah Miller, who'll be a mainstay in a rotation of A-backs. Another senior, Shane Bryant, takes over at quarterback.

And while focus in the Maine and Endwell communities will shift to football from baseball, the world-champion little guys will not be forgotten.

The M-E crew that last Sunday completed a 24-0 summer by capturing the Little League World Series championship in Williamsport, Pa., will be acknowledged during a ceremony pre-game — then return to their roots one last time.

"They're basically going to be our ball boys like they always have been, just with the recognition that they happen to be World Series champions on top of that," Gallagher said.


By TIM BIRNEY - Valley Sports Report

THE VALLEY - Week 1 of the New York football season features a doozy of a match-up as defending Class D state champion Tioga travels to Chenango Forks to face last year's Class C champion that has moved up to Class B.

Defending Section IV, Class B champion Waverly opens its 2016 campaign on the road against Class AA Horseheads.


Tioga at Chenango Forks, 1:30 p.m.:
Despite the loss of several key seniors, Tioga coach Nick Aiello has high expectations for his young Tigers in its opener at Chenango Forks.

"It's a really tough challenge, but our expectation is to go in there and carry out our game plan and play to win.

"It's going to be a very good measuring stick for us," said Aiello. "It's going to point out our weaknesses and the mistakes we're making."

"Come Monday, it will be a good film session for us," noted Aiello. "Win or lose, coming out of that game I think it's the best game for us because it,s just going to make us that much better rolling into Week 2 and into our division play in Week 3."

"It's a tough game for us, but at the same time our kids will be ready and they know we expect from them when it comes to big games," he added.

Aiello expects the Blue Devils to run some option out of its 'flex bone' offense, as well as it normal power sets with seniors L.J. Watson and Tim McDonald doing the majority of the leg work.

"I think they'll stick with what they always run. I think it works well with the personnel they have and with the offensive line they have."

"(Watson) may be the best player in the Section this year when he wants to play," said Aiello. "He's a tremendous talent with a combination of size, speed and athleticism. He's one of the smoothest runners I've come across and he when he wants to he can lower his shoulder. He's a game-changer."

"To me, their offensive line is their strength," he added. "Everyone will look at Watson and (Tim) McDonald, but I'll tell you that offensive line is as big and as good as you'll see."

Aiello also expects to see the Blue Devils in its patented 5-2 defense.

"They're well-coached on defense," he said. "The only one that even comes close is down in Waverly, and when it's well-coached like that, whether you're playing Forks or Waverly, it's hard to run your offense against."

"We have a game plan going in and with our skill set, we're hoping to take advantage of some spots, but it comes down to execution and how we come off the ball,' noted Aiello. "If we don't execute and get off the ball, (Forks) will just swallow everything up."

Last meeting: Chenango Forks knocked off Tioga, 21-7.

Post-game Midweek Article(s):    

Fifth Quarter:

At Forks, it's 'Winner, winner chicken dinner'

Chenango Forks, once-beaten state champions each of the past three football seasons, showed zero signs of returning to the pack during Saturday afternoon’s 55-12 dismissal of Tioga Central’s defending Class D champions.

Ten Forks rushers had a foot in the team’s 489 yards of offense on a day quarterback Cody Bogue was instructed to pass the football once ­ a misfire on the second-to-last play of the first half.

Most conspicuous was senior L.J. Watson, a first-team all-state selection last autumn who went for 21.7 yards per rush in a 195-yard, two-TD debut.

Oh, and it’ll cost the ball-carrying “stars.”

“I think it was a great effort by our line, honestly, probably and 8 to 9,” was Watson’s grade of the big boys’ work. “We’ve got to get them KFC for getting 150 rushing yards. It’s tradition.”

It’s the way it goes at The Home of Champions. An individual gains 150 on the ground, O-linemen get fistfuls of the colonel’s finest.

Oh, biggest eater of the bunch?

“Probably Ryan Ehrets. He’ll probably go through one bucket by himself,” Watson said of the Devils’ all-state center. “That’s alright, though. He deserves it.”

Classy gestures

A bit over a minute remained in a one-sided Tioga-Forks contest when, with the Blue Devils’ offense at the Tigers’ 9-yard line, Forks coach David Hogan yelled from the sideline to his quarterback, “Take a knee.”

However, from across the way, Tioga coach Nick Aiello fired back, “No, coach,” and proceeded to urge Hogan to permit his reserves to play football. Hogan begrudgingly acquiesced, and two plays later, Derek Carley’s first carry of the season went for a 1-yard TD.

Aiello and Tioga’s five-time defending Section 4 champions have been on the happy end of such outcomes with regularity. Coach knows the value of those reserve players awaiting their opportunity, and saw fit to request that Forks’ had opportunity to show their worth.

“It doesn’t surprise me, though; that’s who Nick is,” Hogan said. “I wanted to take a knee, but OK, that’s alright, I can respect that. He’s a great guy and a great coach. But, no, I’ve never heard anybody say that to me, ever. I’ve got to applaud that, too. It says a lot about who he is.”


By TIM BIRNEY Valley Sports Report

TIOGA CENTER — Tioga coach Nick Aiello admitted his team’s shortcomings in its 55-12 loss at Chenango Forks Saturday afternoon, but gave most of the credit to the powerhouse Blue Devils.

“I really do think that’s the best team I’ve ever faced as a coach,” said Aiello. “They really have it all, in terms of athleticism and size — that’s a pretty good combination.

“Size-wise, I’ve never coached against a team that big up front and that includes those Randolph teams in the state semifinals,” he noted. “Defensively, they run their schemes better than just about anyone.

“I’m very interested to see how they handle the (Class) B schedule,” added Aiello.

Senior L.J. Watson rushed for 195 yards and two TDs on nine carries in the win for the Blue Devils.

“It definitely helped with the holes we were allowing him to run through, but (L.J. Watson) showed everyone what he can do when he has room to run,” said Aiello. “He’s definitely something special.”

Aiello said the mis-match was even greater than it appeared in some aspects.

“Another reality of the situation is that seven out of our 11 starters on defense … the last time they started a game was on the modified level,” said Aiello.

“There were some realities involved in the game, but we also look at it as a stepping stone for us getting better,” he added.

Aiello said his defense played much too soft against a physical team like Forks.

“We played way too lateral Saturday, that was our biggest problem,” said Aiello. “We really opened lanes up for them because we were running to a sideline, rather than filling.

“That’s the biggest thing we took away from the game,” noted Aiello. “There was just a pure lack of physicality and tackling, which we’re not accustom to.

“That’s the focus of practice this week and it starts with getting in the right position, so because we were so out of position Saturday, we  weren’t able to make good tackles,” he added. “I do believe we have tough kids and once they get themselves in better position, they’ll become better tacklers.”

Offensively, the Tigers rushed for 123 yards and threw for 144 yards more against a dominant Forks defense.

“I thought there were a lot of positives offensively,” said Aiello. “Obviously, the score isn’t indicative of that, but for the most part everybody was picking up their blocking assignment. 

“For the most part, we were executing, we were just outmanned quite a bit up front. We weren’t able to move guys or open up holes.

“I really liked the balance in our offense,” noted Aiello. “We threw the ball 15 times … if we were able to run the ball a little more, it would have set up even more play-action, rather than having to be in the shotgun the whole time.

“What was nice to see was Connor (Hutchinson’s) ability to throw and make quick decisions, and our ability to catch the ball,” added Aiello.

Hutchinson had open receivers throughout the game, and Aiello credits the QB for that.

“A lot of that comes from Connor coming to the sidelines and telling me what he was seeing

“A lot of the stuff we’ve worked on in the offseason is him recognizing defenses and coverages and the opportunities he has against those coverages, and windows we can throw into.

“He’s definitely progressed quite a bit over the offseason,” added Aiello. “I thought he did a great job of staying composed and letting me know what he thought was there.”

Aiello said his team had its struggles on special teams as well, from missing an extra point to allowing a punt return for a TD.

“It’s amazing that we have 35 kids on the team and we can’t find anyone athletic enough to put it through the up rights, but it’s something we’re working on.

“The kids need to understand their roles on special teams,” said Aiello. “We watch the film and the punt return was just a complete breakdown of our coverage. It was kids jogging and kids not flying to the football.

“It’s clearly a problem and we’ll have to fix it,” he said. “Our entire special teams are not focused on what their jobs are.

“The biggest thing was our kickoffs, it was the same as our punts — low line drives,” noted Aiello. “We told them, we need to get it up in the air, but we were giving their returners a 25-yard head start before our coverage team could get down there.

“There are definitely some areas in our special teams that we need to work on,” added Aiello. “We’ll have to get better and put more time in on special teams.”

GRADE FOR WEEK 1: D-. “It just wasn’t what we expect as a team, but the positives were that not once did a kid point his finger at another kid, or give up, or have a bad attitude,” said Aiello. “The kids played head all the way until the end.”



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