Chenango Forks Varsity Football
Game 9 vs Oneonta - CF wins
Articles courtesy of the Binghamton Press &
the Oneonta Daily Star
from the The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and the Oneonta Daily Star
follow next on this page. Both papers also had some preview articles
for the game. Those articles are after the Stats Section, at the end of
Devils heed coach's warning in dominating Yellowjackets early
BY MIKE MANGAN
Press & Sun-Bulletin
CHENANGO FORKS -- One
day after Class C power Walton lost in one of the biggest upsets
in recent Section 4 history, Chenango Forks wasn't going to let
lighning strike twice in its Section 4 Class B semifinal against
With their usual strong defense
and running game, the Blue Devils cruised to a 39-7 victory over
Yellowjackets on Saturday.
The victory moved Forks (9-0),
the state's the second-ranked Class B team according to the New
York State Sports Writers Association, into the title game
against Norwich (8-1). The game will be 5 p.m. Friday at
Binghamton Alumni Stadium.
Seeking a return trip to the
state playoffs, Forks probably didn't need any extra motivation
going into its contest with Oneonta (5-4).
But it got it anyways from head
coach Kelsey Green, who was quick to remind his players that
anything can happen in the postseason.
Before the game, Green showed
them a newspaper article of Lansing's 28-20 victory over Walton
in the Class C semifinal Friday. Walton had entered the game the
top-ranked team in the state in Class C and had beaten Lansing,
40-6, earlier in the year.
So how did CF respond against a
team it had beaten 56-7 in the second week of the season.
By putting together possibly
its most impressive first half of football it has played this
season, a half that saw the Blue Devils scored six touchdowns to
take a 39-0 lead.
In the first half:
* CF held Oneonta to minus-6
yards on offense. The Yellowjackets ran for minus 38 yards, with
star tailback Geoff Bean held to minus 11 on seven carries.
* CF scored on six of its eight
drives, including a pair of one-play scoring drives.
* CF gained 228 yards,
including 169 yards on the ground. Kelsey Jenks ran for 87 of
his game-high 103 yards in the first half.
* CF blocked two punts, both
leading to touchdowns.
"They are probably the
best team in Section 4, regardless of class," Oneonta coach
Art Rigas said. "Their defense is just unbelievable. They
are just on a different level than anyone else right now.
"We made some mistakes
against them, and you just can't do that against a team like
CF took control early.
Receiving the opening kickoff,
Forks went 63 yards in just five plays, scoring on Matt Juriga's
24-yard run with 10:13 left in the first quarter to take a 7-0
Forks got the ball back just
three plays later on Oneonta's 32 as Nick Mirabito intercepted
Steve Sclafani's third-and-15 pass from Oneonta's 6.
Four plays later, CF made it
14-0 as Chris Spencer scored on a 10-yard run.
It stayed 14-0 until late in
the first quarter, when CF's special teams led to another
Near his goal line, Oneonta
punter Colin Hoffman's had his kick blocked by Matt Stephens.
CF recovered on the Oneonta 4,
and one play later Mirabito scored to make it 20-0 with 1:03
It was more of the same in the
second quarter, with Juriga tossing a 47-yard touchdown pass to
Tim Green and Jenks scoring on touchdown runs of 4 and 26 yards
give CF a 39-0 lead.
Juriga, who finished with 35
yards rushing and 59 yards passing, took his coach's warning of
overconfidence to heart.
"We knew the same thing
could happen to us," Juriga said referring to Lansing's
upset of Walton. "That was in the back of our minds during
For the game, CF outgained
Oneonta, 303-102, with the Yellowjackets finishing with minus 47
Unable to run the ball, Oneonta
ended up throwing the ball 37 times.
The last toss was a 10-yard
touchdown pass from backup quarterback Andrew Brown to Bean with
"We've come out in the
last five or six ballgames, have played great defense, and taken
the ball down the field and scored quickly," Green said.
"We then want to take away the running game and force teams
to throw the ball. That's the game plan.
"We knew if could
eliminate the mistakes, it could be a nice afternoon, and it
Season ends in rout for Jackets
Forks dominates to win semifinal, 39-7
2002 High School Football — Section Four Class B Semifinal
By Rob Centorani - Staff Writer
CHENANGO FORKS — If Oneonta High wasn't convinced of Chenango
Forks' dominance in Week 2, it should be now.
In a rerun of their first meeting, Chenango Forks scored six
first-half touchdowns en route to a 39-7 thumping of the
Yellowjackets on Saturday in a Section Four Class B semifinal.
Just how dominant was Forks?
Consider that OHS attempted nine running plays in the first half
and its longest gain was 2 yards. It finished with minus-36
yards rushing in the first half and minus-46 for the game.
OHS standout running back Geoff Bean rushed for 186 yards last
week, when Oneonta knocked off previously unbeaten Norwich,
19-7. He had minus-6 yards on nine carries against the Blue
"That's the best team in Section Four," said OHS coach
Art Rigas, whose team lost, 56-7, to Forks in Week 2 of the
season. "I don't care, they're better than all of them.
It's too bad they don't play the Double-As — the Vestals and
the U-Es — because they'd beat them. They're a good football
team. They have no weaknesses."
The Yellowjackets (5-4) won the coin toss, but elected to kick
off. It took five plays — all runs to the left — for Forks
(9-0) to drive 62 yards. Kelsey Jenks, a 230-pound fullback, had
gains of 19, 6, 7 and 6 yards on the first four plays.
Quarterback Matt Juriga then faked to Jenks and took off around
left end for a 24-yard scoring run.
"We read the paper about Walton and Lansing last
night," Juriga said of Lansing's 28-20 upset victory Friday
over Walton, which was the state's top-ranked team in Class C.
"We knew we had to come out strong. We figured they'd die
down a lot once we set the tone."
Oneonta's first possession was ugly.
Because a roughing penalty on Tim Batty's extra point, Forks
kicked off from midfield and OHS started at its 14. Steve
Sclafani's first-down pass was batted down at the line. Jake
Frisch dumped him for a 7-yard loss on second down and Nick
Mirabito intercepted his third-down pass, giving Forks
possession at Oneonta's 32.
It took four more running plays for Forks to score. Chris
Spencer, Forks' other quarterback, faked a handoff inside and
went around right end from 10 yards. Batty's PAT made it 14-0
with 8 minutes and 20 seconds left in the first quarter.
"They had won their last four in a row and we had heard
talk that they were really waiting for us — really wanted a
second opportunity at us, and they got it," Forks coach
Kelsey Green said. "We felt like they were coming out
feeling good about themselves and we had to really establish
ourselves early, and we did. The kids played really well right
from the beginning through the whole first half."
The teams exchanged punts and then Forks forced another
Matt Stephens had the first of his two first-half punt blocks
off Collin Hoffmann as the Blue Devils' took over at OHS' 4.
Nick Mirabito scored on the next play as Forks took a 20-0 lead
with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
"You can't make mistakes against this team," Rigas
said. "We did it the last time and we did it again this
time. They blocked punts and scored touchdowns and it was 21-0
before you could bat an eye. You can't score 21 points against
The second quarter was more of the same, with Juriga throwing a
47-yard touchdown pass to Tim Green and Jenks scoring on runs of
3 and 26 yards as Forks' lead swelled to 39-0.
OHS did make some improvements from the first game, when they
trailed at halftime, 42-0. The Jackets had two first downs and
forced Forks to punt twice in the first half Saturday. In the
last meeting, OHS had no first downs and didn't force one Forks
put before the half.
And to Oneonta's credit, it was still competing in the second
half despite the score.
On its final possession, backup quarterback Andrew Brown
connected with Jim Hurtubise for gains of 9 and 18 yards, the
latter completion bringing the ball to Forks' 10. Brown, who
took over at quarterback as Sclafani moved to safety during the
second half, then found Bean in the left corner of the end zone.
Bean made a leaping reception for the last of the 27 touchdowns
he's scored over the last two seasons.
"It's representative of what these kids have done all
year," Rigas said. "They could have quit when they
were 1-3. We got racked this year with injuries and they just
responded and never quit. They could have quit. They were
playing for pride in the second half."
Forks, which returned 18 starters from a team that lost to Peru,
14-7, in last year's Class B state title game, plays Norwich
(8-1) in the Section Four Class B final at 5 p.m. Friday at
Binghamton Alumni Stadium.
"You really don't have to do much to get them doing,"
Green said of his team. "They're very talented. They'd make
anyone look like a good coach."
- CF - Juriga 24 run (T. Batty kick)
- CF - Spencer 10 run (T. Batty kick)
- CF - Mirabito 4 run (kick failed)
- CF - Green 47 pass from Juriga (T.
- CF - Jenks 4 run (kick failed)
- CF - Jenks 26 run (kick failed)
- O - Bean 10 pass from Brown (Hoffman
articles from the Press and Oneonta papers....
Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin -
Friday Nov 1, 2002
Despite what transpired on Week
2 of the season, Oneonta is right where it wants to be --
playing for a spot in the Class B title game against Chenango
"Our goal from that day on
was to play them again, and we're glad to be here," said
coach Art Rigas, whose Yellowjackets (5-3) will visit Forks for
a semifinal Saturday at 2 p.m. "We'd rather play an 8-0
Forks team than not be in the playoffs."
In the teams' first meeting,
the Blue Devils got a leg up early on their way to a 56-7 rout.
Oneonta managed 113 yards of offense in that one.
Of Forks' defense, which has
registered shutouts two of the last three weekends, Rigas said,
"They've got great team chemistry. They've got a number of
guys who've been together for three years, so they trust one
another. They're very disciplined and they're a pretty athletic
The Forks-Oneonta winner
advances to the final to take on the winner between Elmira Notre
Dame (7-1) and Norwich (7-1), which meet tonight at 7 in
Returns to scene of 56-7 loss for Section Four seminfinal
2002 High School Football — Section Four Class B Semifinal
By Rob Centorani - Daily Star Staff Writer
'I felt like Buckner
going back to Shea.'
— from the movie
For Oneonta High, it's the scene of the crime. It's the place
where its ability and pride were put into question against a
supremely talented Chenango Forks squad.
And now they're returning.
Seven weeks ago, a Yellowjackets team coming off an emotional
overtime victory against Maine-Endwell traveled to Forks.
It was supposed to be a matchup of two of the premier teams in
Section Four. It was a rematch of last season's Class B title
game that the Blue Devils won, 25-14.
Then the game started.
Some 2 1/2 hours later, Oneonta boarded its bus a beaten team:
physically, mentally, emotionally — you name it.
"They were hungry, aggressive and they were pumped
up," OHS coach Art Rigas said of the Sept. 14 shellacking
Forks put on his team. "I think they were expecting to see
the Oneonta team they played last year in the playoffs and we
weren't that team. We were 10 starters shy of that team. They
were coming in expecting a championship game from us and we
weren't quite ready for them.
"Maybe we're a little better prepared now," he
But can a team improve that much in seven weeks? Can the
Yellowjackets honestly expect to beat a team they trailed, 42-0,
They'll find out at 2 p.m. Saturday at Forks. A spot in the
Section Four Class B final is riding on the outcome.
"We had a lot of downfalls that first game," OHS
running back Geoff Bean said. "People started doubting us
and they're still doubting us. Everyone was sure we wouldn't
make the playoffs, but we're here and now we have to go out and
shock them again."
But this was a Forks team that scored on five of its six
first-half possessions and held the Yellowjackets without a
first down until late in the third quarter.
"I think we played well, but I also think we got a couple
plays to go our way early," said Forks coach Kelsey Green,
whose team has outscored its opposition, 299-36. "We had an
interception, a blocked punt and a pass play went all the way.
It put them back on their heels and sometimes that happens.
"We got them out of rhythm, out of their game plan, and it
snowballed on them. We thought we played well, but a lot of
things went our way, too," he continued.
Forks was so much more physical than OHS. There was the
230-pound Kelsey Jenks dragging Oneonta tacklers for extra
yardage on offense and then turning Jackets ballcarriers into
welcome mats from his defensive line position.
Guys such as Jake Frisch, Juan Mendoza, Steve Tronovitch, Zach
Tarnowski and Steve Bronson simply manhandled Oneonta. They're
all muscular and mobile.
"You have to be impressed," said OHS two-way lineman
Tony Dilello, who has some size at 331 pounds. "They're
unbeaten and the No. 2-ranked team in the state, but if we play
well we can stick with them and pull the upset."
An Oneonta victory would be an stunning upset. Forks returned 18
starters from a team that lost to Peru, 14-7, in last season's
Class B state title game.
"We're very relaxed this week," Rigas said. "I
think they understand that we have nothing to lose. They beat us
by 50 and if you talk to anyone in Section Four, they all expect
Chenango Forks to win big."
But turnarounds have happened recently in Section Four. If
Oneonta is looking for motivation, it needs only look to its
The Yellowjackets boys opened the season with a 6-1 loss to
Owego. When the teams played Tuesday in a Section Four Class B
semifinal, Owego won, 2-1, against an Oneonta team that was
missing two of its leading scorers.
"I think the thing you have to stress when you get beat is
that they brought their A game," OHS boys soccer coach Alex
Brannan said. "They're already at their top level and we're
not at our top level. We're building to our top level. Plus, you
can also use (the early loss) as a motivation factor as
Bean, who leads OHS with 847 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns,
said: "What tops it all is revenge. They've beaten us the
last two times we've played."
An example of one team turning the tables on another came during
the 1999 season, when Delhi lost to Walton, 52-19, in the final
week of the regular season.
Two weeks later, Delhi beat Walton, 28-18.
"Chenango Forks has to be thinking that it's easy to beat
us," Rigas said. "We can't let it be easy. We have to
make them work for it.
"We've said all week that they're beatable," he
continued. "We're a better football team than we were in
Week 2 of the season."
The Yellowjackets do have momentum. They've won four straight
— a streak highlighted by last Friday's 19-7 victory over
previously unbeaten Norwich. It was a game Oneonta had to win to
make the playoffs.
"We went from a 1-3 start to 5-3," Dilello said.
"We're well prepared. (Quarterback) Steve (Sclafani) has
improved in six weeks and the whole line is doing well."
Forks has noticed the improvement.
"I don't think there's any question they're a better
team," Green said. "No. 11 (Steve Sclafani) is
throwing the ball accurately, Bean and (Jim) Hurtubise are
excellent runners and (Mike) Konstanty is a heckuva receiver.
They're moving the ball well."
Sclafani, a senior, will be a key for the Jackets. In the first
meeting, Forks pressured him early, forcing an interception that
was returned for a touchdown to go along with a couple of sacks.
As the game progressed, even when Sclafani had time he seemed so
preoccupied with Forks' pass rush that he wasn't looking for his
Sclafani has had several strong games since then, including a
four-touchdown performance against Windsor two weeks ago.
"They're a very good defense and they're very disciplined,
but there are some seams in their defense," Rigas said.
Ultimately, it may come down to Oneonta believing it can play
with Chenango Forks.
"I think it comes down to confidence," Brannan said.
"When we start the season, our goal is always to get to the
state championship. I was not planning on getting knocked out
(Tuesday). I was planning on playing Saturday. I was saying,
'When we play on Saturday ...'
"When the players hear that if they weren't confident, they
become more confident," he continued. "Some people say
that's cocky. I just say that's a positive attitude."
Said Bean: "They beat us 56-7, so they have to be thinking
we're an easy team and we have to show them we're not. We have
to look them straight in the face and say, 'If you want to win
the sectional title, you're going to have to go through us to