2002 Chenango Forks Varsity Football

Game 9 vs Oneonta - CF wins 39-7!


Articles courtesy of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and 
the Oneonta Daily Star

to Game 8 - BGA

to the 2002 team page

to Game 10 - Norwich

Post-game articles 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 this page.

Blue Devils heed coach's warning in dominating Yellowjackets early

Class B Semifinal:

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 Oneonta.  

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 that."

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 lead.

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 touchdown.

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 left.

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 the game."

For the game, CF outgained Oneonta, 303-102, with the Yellowjackets finishing with minus 47 yards rushing.

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 5:53 remaining.

"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 was."

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 Devils.

"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 three-and-out possession.

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 those guys."

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."

1 2 3 4   Tot
Chenango Forks 20 19 00 00 - 39
Oneonta 0 0 0 7 - 7
  • 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. Batty kick)
  • CF - Jenks 4 run (kick failed)
  • CF - Jenks 26 run (kick failed)
  • O - Bean 10 pass from Brown (Hoffman kick)


Oneonta CF
First Downs 9 11
Rushes-Yards 20-(-47) 46-230
Passing Yards 149 73
Comp-Att-Int 16-37-1 3-5-0
Total Offense 57-102 51-303
Punts-Ave yards 6-20 4-30
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-70 8-75


Oneonta rushing:  

  • Rumenapp 1-0
  • Chicorelli 1-0
  • Brown 2(-6)
  • Bean 9-(-8)
  • Konstanty 1-(-8)
  • Sclafani 6-(-25) 

Chenango Forks rushing:  

  • Jenks 13-103, 2 TDs
  • Juriga 4-35, 1 TD
  • Tronovitch 6-20
  • Babcock 6-20
  • T. Batty 2-16
  • Spencer 2-12, 1 TD
  • Stephens 3-9
  • Voorhis 4-7
  • Mirabito 1-4, 1 TD
  • D. Batty 2-2
  • Pendleton 3-2 

Oneonta passing

  • Sclafani 8-for-18, 60 yards, 1 int
  • Brown 8-for-19, 89 yards, 1 TD

Chenango Forks passing: 

  • Juriga 2-for-4, 59 yards, 1 TD
  • T. Batty 1-for-1, 14 yards

Oneonta receiving: 

  • Hurtubise 5-62
  • Bean 8-49, 1 TD
  • Konstanty 2-18
  • Rumenapp 1-20 

Chenango Forks receiving:  

  • T.Green 1-47, 1 TD
  • Mirabito 1-14
  • Tarnowski 1-12

JV Score: no game

Preview 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 Forks.

"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 group."

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 Norwich.

OHS football seeks revenge

Returns to scene of 56-7 loss for Section Four seminfinal

2002 High School Football Section Four Class B Semifinal Preview

By Rob Centorani - Daily Star Staff Writer

'I felt like Buckner going back to Shea.'
from the movie Rounders.

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 continued.

But can a team improve that much in seven weeks? Can the Yellowjackets honestly expect to beat a team they trailed, 42-0, at halftime?

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 soccer-playing classmates.

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 well."

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 receivers.

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 get it.'"

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