BINGHAMTON – It’s been four years since the last time Chenango Forks won a state championship in football.
That may not seem like very long.
But, as a program with a rich tradition of winning, the Blue Devils are ready to climb back atop the state podium.
“It’s just awesome. It’s the ultimate goal. Each year, everybody would love to be able to step on that field. The crowd’s energized, and everybody’s just so happy. Just really happy to be there and be a part of that moment,” says Head Football Coach Dave Hogan.
The Chenango Forks football team is no stranger to the Carrier Dome.
A year ago, the Blue Devils streak of five-straight championship game appearances was snapped by Skaneateles in the state regionals.
Now, Forks is back and they feel like this year’s team has an edge over those in year’s past because of one thing.
“We have a lot more unity than all the other teams. I definitely think that last year’s team had a couple more athletes, but this year’s team has a lot more unity. And I think in the end, that’s what’s most important,” said DB/RB Victor Arciolla.
“I mean, they’ve all been amazing teams, don’t get me wrong. But, this team, we’ve came together, we’ve trained so hard all through the years. We really want it bad,” OL/DL Hunter Gibbore said.
This is a group of seniors that has yet to experience the thrill of winning a state championship.
Forks last won in 2015, a year before this group became freshmen.
However, Blue Devils head coach Dave Hogan knows that winning feeling, as Hogan has led three Forks teams to titles during his tenure.
Having been at that highest level, Hogan has set the bar for this team come Sunday.
“We just keep talking about getting better. It’s no different. We want to play the best game that we have all year. We feel that if we do that, I mean, what the heck, that’s all we can ask,” he said.
As Victor and Hunter said, this is a team that is united and hungry for a state championship.
However, before game day, the team gets to celebrate turkey day.
I decided to play Thanksgiving This or That with these guys as well because hey, you can’t have Thanksgiving dinner without some Forks.
“Turkey: light or dark meat?”
“The better side: mashed potatoes or stuffing?”
“Stuffing, by far.”
“Cranberry sauce, canned or homemade?”
“Umm, probably canned. I really haven’t had that good homemade one in awhile.”
“I like canned cranberry sauce.”
“Helpings: one or two plates?”
“Two plates, always.”
“Oh, definitely two.”
“Dessert: apple or pumpkin pie?”
“Nap afterwards, yes or no?”
“Umm, dozing a little bit here and there. Sure.”
“Yes, big time.”
Luckily, Forks has a few days to recover from their food comas before they make the trip to Syracuse.
But once they arrive, they’re hoping their skill and chemistry can take them back to glory.
Forks will take on Schuylerville Sunday at noon for the Class B state championship.