BINGHAMTON, NY – On day 1 of our preseason football camps, we took a look at Susquehanna Valley, one of the two teams that will have a state championship to defend from Section IV.
Today, we meet the other team with a title to uphold this season, the Chenango Forks Blue Devils.
When you talk about a winning tradition in this area, you have to start with Chenango Forks football.
No team in Section IV has had more section championship victories, New York state playoff appearances, state playoff wins, and state championship titles.
They also currently hold the longest winning streak in the section, victorious in their last 19 games.
Senior lineman Tyler Hayes knows that there are goals for this team. But, with camp just beginning, everyone is just excited to have an actual preseason this year.
“It’s just awesome to be back out here with the guys. Getting after it every day, in the weight room, on the field. It’s just great to be back out here. Everybody’s positive, always staying on top of stuff. We have to get the work done, and get ready for M-E week 1,” he says.
And what a game that should be when Forks meets Maine-Endwell.
Since the state tournament begin in the early 90’s, only Forks and U-E have more section championships than Maine-Endwell, and only Forks has more state titles than M-E.
Forks head coach Dave Hogan sees that opening week match-up as a chance to not only get his players some tough competition, but to also showcase 2 of the section’s best teams.
“Oh, it’s difficult, for sure. But, I think it’s nice though. Kind of a kick off thing with 2 of the premiere programs and stuff like that. It’s always nice to start that way. And then, what’s nice, it’s a non-league game, so we’re just going to build from there. Both teams are just going to build from there,” Hogan said.
The last time these 2 met was to end the spring season earlier this year, a 35-12 Forks win.
That game featured multiple touchdowns for running back Lucas Scott, who is now playing for Army at West Point.
While Scott is a difficult player to replace, the Blue Devils are lucky in the fact that their offensive line has remained intact, and that they already have a feature back in Dubbs Haqq.
Haqq says he can feel some pressure to perform at the same level as Scott. But, luckily, he doesn’t have to do it alone.
“There’s a bit of pressure. But, you know, we do have other guys that came up, helping me out. We have Zander and Reese in the backfield. So, it’s not as bad as you’d think it would be. It’s exciting, of course. But, not everything is on me,” he says.
And if Forks wants to win a 7th state championship this season, it can’t just be about one single player, it has to be a total team effort.
But, both Haqq and Hayes can tell you, they aren’t winning a state championship the first week of preseason.
“As of right now, it’s just week 1. Beat M-E. So, everything else doesn’t matter right now.”
“We’re really looking to get better, like coach Hogan always says. We get better every week, and every day we step on this field. So, the mindset is just, pretty much, get better every week.”
Forks has 2 weeks to better before they meet M-E under the lights of Spartan Stadium on Friday, September 10th at 7 PM.