Forks reigns in 'B'
play, defense lead way to title victory
ENDICOTT -- Chenango Forks, uncharacteristically stung
for two touchdowns in the first 7 1/2 minutes of play, tightened
up thereafter and posted a 25-14 win over Oneonta on Saturday
night for the Section 4 Class B football championship.
Junior quarterback Chris Spencer's 122
rushing yards featured a 66-yard sprint for the game's final
points with 8:57 to play at Union-Endicott, punctuating the Blue
Devils' 10th win in as many starts.
The next assignment comes at 5:30 p.m.
Friday in the Carrier Dome, a state quarterfinal against Section
On this night, Forks showed its mettle.
Here was a team that hadn't surrendered
more than nine points in a game since mid-September, trailing by
14-7 after Oneonta (8-2) had turned its second possession into a
But one telltale adjustment in the pass
coverage, coupled with some championship-caliber pertinacity,
turned matters around in a hurry.
The Blue Devils scored twice in the last
six minutes of the second quarter, and when Roy Deyo crashed
through defender Geoff Bean's tackle attempt at the goal line
for a 1-yard score, it was 19-14 with 17 seconds to play before
"We haven't been in that situation
a lot, but we were in it one game," Forks' Drew Batty said.
"We knew we had to keep our heads up. We knew we had to
stop the mistakes we were making and shut down their passing
That Oneonta passing game was at the
root of Forks' early deficit.
Yellow Jackets quarterback Alec Macaulay
completed four of his first five passes for 103 yards. Included
were scoring passes of 9 and 61 yards to Chris Andreassen.
Something very clearly was amiss with
this Forks defense that had allowed 7.7 points per game through
the first nine.
"Our defense was pretty loose early
on because our corners were out covering the split end, and that
was freeing up the slotback," Spencer said. "So what
we did was, the other safety and I moved out and we put the
corner inside. We felt that would stop the slant pass."
Calling for the twist was assistant
coach Dave Chickanosky, longtime keeper of all things defense at
The result? After his early-game
success, Macaulay was 1-for-his-next-16 passing. And on a night
the 'Jackets rushed for a 70-yard total, Forks was back in
"We adjusted our coverage a little
bit, and we have some quickness back there, too," Forks
coach Kelsey Green said. "I can't imagine playing them
Too, the Blue Devils demonstrated some
quickness, strength and elusiveness on the offensive side of the
Just three plays after Oneonta had taken
a 14-7 lead, Batty turned what was designed to be a
garden-variety running play into a 72-yard score to draw Forks
to within 14-13 with 5:53 to play in the half.
Note from the webmaster -
the above is not true. While it WAS a three play drive
culminating with Drew Batty's TD run, it did not occur 3
plays after Oneonta took the 14-7 lead. Oneonta did not score
again after the mid-point of the first period.
"I broke it up, and the linebacker
and two safeties had ahold of me," Batty said of his first
carry of the night. "Maybe I had Crisco on me or something,
I don't know, but I slid right off."
Forks' trek to the go-ahead score began
from its 44-yard line with 59 seconds left in the half following
an Oneonta punt. The big play on the drive was a 34-yard pass
from Spencer to Scott Lance that brought the Devils to the
Three plays later, Deyo banged over the
left side from the 1, and the lead was Forks' for keeps.
The lone remaining score was the doing
of Spencer, who, as is customary at Forks, shared duty behind
center with junior classmate Matt Juriga.
On first down from the Devils' 34-yard
line, Spencer kept on an option play to his left, broke it to
the sideline and ran through an attempted tackle by speedster
Bean en route to the touchdown.
"That kid is amazing," Spencer
said. "He caught me the first time [on a 46-yard,
first-quarter gain], and I knew if I got free I was going to
have to beat Bean. He got me by the legs, but I just didn't want
Green said of Spencer: "He had a
game, didn't he? What a day!"
Forks closed with 363 rushing yards. And
though they allowed 203 Oneonta passing yards, the Blue Devils
-- with aid of a drop here and there -- hounded Macaulay into a
"Obviously, we have Kelsey [Jenks]
at nose," Spencer said. "But if they double him, that
frees up somebody else. We take pride in our defensive line.
We're probably one of the most prepared teams for every
Picture Notes -
The Devils' Drew Batty breaks away from Oneonta's Liam
Murray and scampers away to a 72-yard touchdown run
in the second quarter at Union-Endicott's Ty Cobb
Stadium. Forks won, 25-14, to improve to 10-0 and
advance to the Class B state tournament
quarterfinals in the Carrier Dome against Cazenovia
of Section 3