CHENANGO FORKS -- Good defense and a balanced running game have
been the keys to Chenango Forks' success in recent years.
Both were on display Saturday in the Blue Devils' 27-7 victory over
visiting Owego Free Academy in the high school football opener for both
CF held the Indians to 67 total yards of offense, including 26 yards
rushing on 29 carries. The Blue Devils also ran for 196 yards with four
different players scoring touchdowns.
"We had some young kids step it up, especially on defense,"
CF coach Kelsey Green said. "The front seven I felt controlled the
Drew Batty, Roy Deyo, Jamie Hoover and Chris Spencer scored
touchdowns for Forks. Deyo led the Blue Devils with 73 yards rushing on
just nine carries.
But all was not well with CF's performance. There were four
first-half turnovers, including a pair of fumbles that kept Owego in the
The Indians took advantage on the third of those turnovers,
recovering a fumbled snap on CF's 26-yard line in the second quarter.
Two plays later, quarterback Jesse Skellett found Matt Luhrs in the
end zone for a 22-yard TD pass. Luhrs made a leaping grab in double
The touchdown and PAT, cut CF's lead to 13-7 with 6:33 left in the
"We were fortunate that we had good field position in the first
half, or they would have really taken advantage of our mistakes,"
Green said. "The turnovers are a thing that turn a good team into
an average team. We have to work on that."
Turnovers, however, doomed Owego in the second half, especially a
fumble on its 20 midway through the third quarter that was the knockout
blow by Forks.
The Blue Devils took just four plays to score, capped by Hoover's
7-yard run, to go up 20-7 with 3:56 left in the third quarter.
Spencer added a 17-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Except for a late drive against CF's reserves in the closing minutes,
Owego didn't threaten again.
"Defensively I think we played a decent game, but it was on the
field too long," Owego coach Tim McDonald said of the defense.
"Forks' defense was pretty impressive. Their speed is incredible.
"I think if we didn't fumble, it's a different ballgame,
It appeared Forks would roll to victory after scoring a pair of
touchdowns in the first quarter.
After Owego's three-and-out on its opening possession, CF went 38
yards on nine plays, all on the ground, scoring on Batty's 3-yard run
with 5:16 left to go up 7-0.
Later in the quarter, Deyo took a handoff from Spencer and took it
outside for a 38-yard run, outrunning several Owego defenders.
"I saw a lot of running room at first and then I saw a guy come
over," Deyo said. "I thought he was going to get me but I had
a good cutback and just kept going.
"With so many guys that can run the ball, it takes a lot of
pressure off me."
Green was generally pleased with the his team's overall performance
but knows that there is plenty of work to be done.
"We're getting the kinks out, we have a long way to go,"
Green said. "It's a beginning, but not a bad one."