Frank Speziale Photo
NORWICH – Chenango Forks football showed why they are ranked number two in New York State, as they handed Norwich their second loss of the season with ease in a 49-7 gashing in front of the Tornado fans on what was to be a joyous and celebrated senior night on Friday, October 6.
Norwich went to one of their rushing leaders, Drew Walsh, on their first three plays of the game but the Devils studied the game film from the week prior. Walsh gained seven yards on third down before Forks tackled him, forcing the first of many punts by Rifanburg.
The Norwich defense looked to be in sync, playing with force on their opponents first drive, stalling the Blue Devils following a Grant Wessels’ sack for 11 yards. Forks punted the ball away out of bounds to the Norwich 34.
Taking over at 7:50 in the first quarter, Forks complied a drive that lasted a total of 5:14 and ended with a Matt McDonald rush from two yards out to give themselves the early 7-0 lead.
Tornado Zach Mills, broke out for 30 yards down field to get the ball into Devils defensive half on second down, to give Norwich their first, first-down of the contest.
However, after Norwich’s Eric Conant was stopped twice for short yardage and quarterback Parrella’s third down pass was incomplete, Norwich was faced with a decision on fourth. Another Parrella pass was called but fell incomplete, resulting in a turnover on downs and a stalled Norwich drive.
Jeremiah Allen ran to his left then bounced to his right after finding a hole in the Norwich defense for 64 yards on the first play for the Devils. Wessels dragged him down from behind to prevent the touchdown after Allen had broke away from all other Tornado defenders. Allen ran it in for the two yard score three plays later, increasing the Forks’ lead to 14-0.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t play our best game. Chenango Forks is a great team. Their front five played very well and controlled the line of scrimmage,” said coach Chrystie.
Norwich’s Conant returned the kick-off by the Devils’ Dan Crowningshield for six yards with hopes of getting something going for Norwich. The drive however, ended in another Rifanburg punt on fourth down. Rifanburg finished the night with six punts for an cumulated distance of 204 yards.
Continuing to be a key factor in the game, Forks’ offensive line created another drive ending in the end-zone for the Blue Devils. This time, quarterback Kris Borelli found his target Connor Borchardt for a 29 yard score. After Crowingshield’s extra point, Chenango Forks’ lead increased to 21-0.
On the ensuing kick-off, Walsh returned the ball to midfield after 23 yards to set up Norwich in good field position. Parrella led the Purple down the field, completing four of his five attempts to three different receivers Carson, Rifanburg and J.T. Vinal. His fourth completion cut into the Forks’ lead as he threw a two yard pot-pass to Rifanburg over the middle. Mike Trevisani continued his near perfect point-after as he put the ball through the up-rights, making the score 21-7 with 1:31 left in the first half.
The Blue Devils came close to scoring another touchdown before the half but a holding penalty brought back a 12 yard completion from Borelli back to the Norwich 40. Allen tried for another big gain but Mills stopped him after 10 yards, allowing Norwich to go into the half down two scores.
Forks received the kick to start the second half and wasted no time as they added their fourth score of the game with Allen’s final touchdown from three yards out with 9:14 left in the third.
Allen finished the game with 244 yards on the ground off of 25 carries for the Blue Devils.
“Allen is a good back. He’s quicker than expected,” said Coach Chrystie. “His line stuck out more to me than he did. They got off the ball every play and were able to get to our linebackers and that made for a very long game.”
Norwich was unable to get anything started in the second half as most resulted in Rifanburg punts and one ended in an interception by Parrella...