NORWICH – Chenango Forks’ long reign of dominance over the Norwich football program ended Friday night on rain-soaked Ulrichs Field.
The Purple Tornado forced four turnovers and held Forks’ vaunted running game to just 118 yards in a 20-7 victory.
It was Norwich’s first win over Chenango Forks since the 1999 season (a 40-14 win), the last time Norwich captured a Section IV football championship. “We told our entire team that nobody is giving you a chance (to win) except the guys in here wearing purple,” said Norwich third-year head coach John Martinson. “When you read in the papers that we haven’t beaten them in 12 years and the previous win to that was 1993, that’s a long time. Forks has a tremendous program, and we have the utmost respect for their players and coaching staff.”
All week, the mantra for Norwich was play physical. Martinson said his team underwent intense practices in preparation for the Blue Devils, and the game plan was simple: Stop Blue Devils fullback, Lukas Aston. Aston finished with 43 yards on 16 carries, while also fumbling twice.
“All week, we worked on stopping number 43 (Aston),” Martinson said. “We felt if we could stop 43, we had a chance to beat them.”
Aston never really got on track, and his longest gain was just six yards. Forks had an opportunity to cash in on one of Norwich’s few mistakes, and it came in the opening sequence of play.
Forks’ Richard Faith kicked off short, and Norwich was unable to gain possession as the Blue Devils’ Joe Fassett jumped on the loose ball at the Norwich 25. After a first-down run by Aston to the Norwich 14, Forks coughed up the ball when Aston mishandled the handoff from Zach Jeske, and Norwich junior Grant Brightman made the recovery.