FOOTBALL: FORKS LOOKING FOR PAYBACK AGAINST WAVERLY IN CLASS C FINAL
By ROB CENTORANI
Broome County East Sports Report
Chenango Forks senior Dustin Jump almost made it sound like a Christmas morning for a 5-year-old.
"Some nights I can't sleep just thinking about it," the two-way lineman said. "I'm excited about it."
He's talking about the noon kickoff Saturday at Vestal, where the Blue Devils will look avenge back-to-back losses to Waverly in the Section 4 Class C football final.
The Wolverines (9-1) are the defending champions, having beaten Forks, 28-14, in the 2022 final. Earlier this season, Waverly defeated the Blue Devils, 19-15 -- the winning score coming on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Joey Tomasso to Xavier Watson with 12 seconds remaining.
Shutting down a potent Waverly offense led by all-state quarterback Tomasso and moving the ball against Wolverines defense that limited Forks to 142 yards from scrimmage will be keys for the 6-3 Blue Devils.
Perhaps equally important will be the start to Saturday's game.
"There's going to be a lot of emotion involved," Forks coach Dave Hogan said. "Kids are going to be nervous, it's natural. You just have to focus on what's important, your individual roles and that's not easy to do. The problem is, it's a big game and you're telling them to just do your job. It's easier said than done."
The fact that the teams are familiar with each other -- this will be their fourth game over the past two seasons -- should make for an interesting matchup.
"It kind of cancels out," Hogan said. "It's good for each team or bad for each team, however you want to look at it. We're always appreciative of the competition. We always say if you can get out of the section, you have good shot at moving on. It's typically pretty competitive in the section."
Offensively, if Forks can get a push up front and get chain-moving gains from the likes of Chris Boyle, Lucas Bartlow, Tyler Rifenbury and Tate Bender, that could bode well for the Blue Devils.
"This week's practices have been so much more focused than previous weeks," Jump said. "I think everybody knows what's to come. Everybody knows they're a good team, but I definitely feel like we can do it."
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