SECTION IV FOOTBALL: FORKS GROUND GAME TOO MUCH; TOPS WAVERLY, 34-6, FOR NINTH STRAIGHT SECTIONAL TITLE (24 PHOTOS)
(2021-11-12)Valley Sports Report
BINGHAMTON — Chenango Forks’ potent ground game was too much for Waverly as the Blue Devils claimed their ninth consecutive Section IV title with a 34-6 victory here Friday night in the Class C Championship game.
The title is the fifth straight for the Blue Devils in Class C, after winning four consecutive Class B crowns.
Waverly wraps up the season at 10-1, and coach Jason Miller is excited for the future.
“It was just a great year, from the spring when we were very, very young to these kids maturing over the course of the summer … there was a lot of hard work,” said Miller.
“We had a big win against East Syracuse-Minoa off the bat,” he noted. “It’s a really focused group of kids, athletically-minded.
“We just tried to be where our feet are at, every week, just take a game at a time and we had a historic season,” continued Miller. “The first 10-0 record we’ve had and it’s just a great thing for our community. The kids gained a lot of confidence from it.
“I’ve got to believe that next year if we keep our focus again, we’ll be back in this position, probably back against Forks so, who knows?” added Miller.
Forks pounded out 460 rushing yards on 74 carries, while Waverly had just six rushing yards on seven carries. The Blue Devils ran 79 offensive plays to Waverly 31.
“Our effort was great,” said Miller. “They (Chenango Forks) were just very, very difficult to stop.
“I am really proud of our effort,” reiterated Miller. “I thought we played tough right to the very end.
“Sometimes that’s the way it is, though” added Miller. “You play as hard as you want, but they are just a better football team.”
Zander Arnold, who led Forks with 229 yards and two TDs on 33 carries, capped a four-playing scoring drive with a 50-yard TD run on Chenango Forks’ first possession of the game. The PAT kick was no good and Forks led 6-0 with just 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
After forcing Waverly to punt, the Blue Devils took an early gamble on fourth down at their own 34, but the Wolverines came up with a big stop.
Moments later, sophomore QB Joey Tomasso connected with sophomore Jay Pipher on a 10-yard TD pass. Waverly’s PAT kick also failed and the game was tied 6-6 late in the first quarter.
Forks QB Grady Stark, who had 116 yards on 11 carries, scored on runs of 27 and 11 yards in the second quarter to give Forks a 20-6 lead.
After the Blue Devils’ second TD, senior Thomas Hand gave Waverly good field position at the Forks 44 with a 41-yard return, but after a couple of completions, Waverly fumbled the ball away at the Blue Devil 24.
Forks rapidly moved the ball down field, but Hand ended the threat with an interception at the Wolverine 13 in the final minute of the first half.
The Blue Devil ground game continued to dominate in the second half.
Arnold scored on a 3-yard TD run early in the third quarter, and Dubbs Haqq, who had 104 yards and one TD on 15 carries, scored on a 2-yard run late in the stanza to provide the final margin.
Tomasso completed 12 of 24 passes for 115 yards and one TD for the Wolverines. Pipher was his main target with seven receptions for 65 yards and one TD, and senior Brady Blauvelt added two catches for 33 yards.
Tomasso finishes the season with 1,847 passing yards — just 62 yards shy of Peyton Miller’s single-season school record of 1,909 in 2015. His 149 completions on the season are a school record, eclipsing Miller’s record of 136 in ’15.
IN PHOTO 1: Waverly’s Joey Tomasso. … PHOTOS BY MATT PATTON.
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