CONKLIN, NY – Section IV has long been known to be a dominant football factory in New York state.
However, games like the one we’ll see this Saturday don’t come around very often, even for this area.
When Susquehanna Valley and Chenango Forks take the field at Sabers Stadium Saturday, both will be doing so with a lot on the line.
The Sabers are the 2-time defending Class C state champions, while the Blue Devils captured the 2019 Class B state title.
This will be the 5th time Forks has played a defending state champion, the first since 2016.
And for SV, this will be a first for them in that scenario.
However, with nothing outside of a 6-game regular season schedule this year, both teams see this as their title game.
“We’re definitely going to leave it all out on the field. This is our state championship game. We’re both undefeated. We both won state titles last year. So, it’s a big game for us for sure,” says Chenango Forks Senior RB/SS Ryan Joseph.
“There’s no playoffs this year. So, this is about as close as you’re going to come. This is a big game. This is what high school sports are all about. We’re looking forward to it. We know they’re looking forward to it,” said CF Coach Dave Hogan.
“The crowd would be going crazy for a game like this. For me, I’m just taking it one week at a time. We know Forks is well coached. We know they’re very disciplined. We see it as a challenge as a coaching staff to come up with a plan on offense and defense, bring our best, and play a great game of football,” says SV Head Coach Mike Ford.
Among the major storylines of this game is SV’s current win streak.
The Sabers haven’t lost since they last met Forks back on October 28, 2017, a 28-7 Blue Devils victory in the Class B section semifinals.
Since then, SV has ripped off 28-straight wins, averaging roughly 46 points per game offensively.
They also have yet to lose on their new field at Sabers Stadium, with an 8-0 record since the turf was laid down in 2018.
As for the Blue Devils, they come in winners of 15-straight.
Forks also holds the 2nd longest win streak in Section IV history at 38 games, and the Sabers would love to be able to go through them to continue their own.
“It would be incredible just to keep this thing rolling. I mean, it’s our last year. We want to make it count. We’ve had a rivalry for quite a while. We’ve just never got the chance to play them. So, this is our chance to prove ourselves,” said SV Senior Dylan Gaska.
SV has outscored their first 2 opponents this year 92-19, while Forks still has yet to surrender a single point, with an 88-0 differential thus far.
So, with both teams scoring at will, while also shutting opponents down defensively, something’s gotta give on Saturday.
“They have a lot of foot speed. That’s the thing that jumps out at us after watching them for these couple of days. They look very, very fast. We have speed too. We’re also pretty, I think we’re bigger too. But, it’s going to be a good match-up, for sure,” Hogan said.
“We’ll see on Saturday. They have some strengths. We have some strengths. It’ll be interesting to see how we go against each other. It’s been a few years. But, it’s always a battle,” says Ford.
And that is the perfect way to describe what we’ll witness this weekend.