Sidney’s Brandon Walters didn’t mince words when talking about the importance of the Warriors’ 7 p.m. Friday night home game against unbeaten Chenango Forks.
“That basically is for the division championship,” Walters said following Sidney’s 21-8 Section Four Football Conference Division V victory over visiting Greene last Friday. “It’s two of the most physical teams in the division and the section, I think. I’d be surprised if you don’t Sidney and Chenango Forks in the playoffs and possibly the Section Four (Class C) final.”
The Blue Devils (5-0, 1-0 Division V) are coming off a 15-13 overtime against rival Chenago Valley on Saturday.
“They’re so well prepared in every facet of football,” Sidney coach Jeff Matthews said of a Forks squad that opened the season with a 35-6 win over 4-1 Unatego and beat winless Oneonta High, 41-6, in Week 2. “They’re probably the best prepared team we’re going to see this year. Their option is well executed and their defense, like you said, nothing fancy, but they can play football very well.”
The Warriors’ win last week against Greene came despite fumbling seven times and losing four.
Still, Sidney’s physical defense limited the Trojans to 33 yards of offense and three first downs.
“That makes a statement about us,” said Walters, a physical two-way starter. “People underestimate us going back to last year.”
Defensively, the Warriors (4-1, 2-0) have allowed two touchdowns over the past four weeks. They had shutouts against Whitney Point and Walton, the only points allowed last week came on a kickoff return and they also allowed a kickoff return in their 20-14 loss to Norwich in Week 4.
“The defense is buying into what the coaches are saying,” Matthews said. “They’re reading their keys and when they do that, they’re right at the point of attack. The Achilles’ heel has been special teams. We’ve been giving up some big plays.”
Though this week’s game is huge, Sidney’s non-conference game the following week against visiting Unatego figures to be very interesting.
The Spartans, which beat Oxford, 53-0, last Friday, have averaged 49 points since their season-opening loss to Forks.
Sidney is allowing seven points per game.
Oneonta High coach Adam Hoover said following his team’s 48-22 home loss to Norwich on Friday that better results might be upcoming.
“We didn’t get any favors done for us with the schedule and the low numbers (of OHS players),” he said. “We’re 0-5 and every team we’ve played _ if you add them together, they have three losses _ three losses between our first five opponents.
“Not that the teams we’re playing next aren’t good,” he continued, “but I think we’ll compete a little better. Our next three games _ Owego, Johnson City and Windsor _ are all games that if we come out and play, even if we lose they aren’t going to be blowouts.”
Hoover’s father, Jim, chimed in about the Yellowjackets’ start after his team’s 28-18 Division VIII home win over rival Delhi on Saturday.
“What’s concerning is a Class B school with 18 kids (on the roster) _ or 19 or 20 or whatever,” said the elder Hoover. “And they say they have two down classes number-wise, which I think are juniors and seniors.
“He’s not losing to candies, either,” he continued. “But your kids need confidence. They need confidence right now. They have to go out and play hard and maybe beat an Owego team to get some confidence.”
Jim Hoover went 3-6 in his second season as Walton’s coach. That marked the only losing season in the 37-year career for Hoover, who has won a Section Four-record 291 games.
Oneonta will play host to 1-4 Owego at 3 p.m. Saturday for its Homecoming game.
At noon Saturday, the Yellowjackets will announce their 2012 Hall of Fame class in the Charles Belden Auditorium.
This year’s inductees are John Minarcin (Class of 1974), Jim “Pete” Putnam (1957), Mike Syron (1959), Dennis Weir (1959) and the 1996-97 girls basketball that won a Class B state championship. OHS also will add William Atchinson (1974), Joseph Campbell Jr. (1975), James Catella (1941), Michael Mongillo (1967) and Diane Schrull Sepler (1957) to its Wall of Distinction.
The OHS Alumni Association will provide free food and music from 1:30-2:30 at the food tent.
Austin Kilmer scored on a pair of long touchdown runs in Walton’s win over Delhi.
The win improved the Warriors to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in D-VIII.
He said he was impressed with Walton’s play after senior quarterback Dalton Kaminsky broke his left arm in the third quarter.
“We stepped up a lot,” said Kilmer, who rushed for 168 yards on 11 carries. “We had a sophomore quarterback (Matt Sinistore) come in and he stepped up big time. We had a couple of bad snaps at first, but we picked it up. If our line doesn’t take care of things and we don’t run hard, then we get stopped. But if we all do our jobs and we take care of our responsibilities, we can go places.”
Walton travels to Harpursville (4-1, 1-0) for a key Division VIII game Saturday. The winner of that game likely will win the division title. The Hornets rallied for a 23-19 win at Unadilla Valley on Friday.
It’s a contact sport
In addition Kaminsky’s season-ending injury, Walton senior running back Mike Beers suffered a shoulder stinger and Delhi running back Brian Ingram left Saturday’s brutal Delhi-Walton game on crutches with an injured right ankle.
Asked if he was going to say anything to his team regarding the potential for such injuries, Delhi coach Dave Kelly said: “There’s nothing to talk about. It’s football. People bump into each other on purpose.”
Also this weekend
Bainbridge-Guilford takes its 4-1 record to Oxford (2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday for a D-VII game.
“Their quarterback (Jody Smith) has really improved from last year,” B-G coach Tim Mattingly said. “Besides (Andrew) Golden on the outside, he’s a great receiver, they have a little No. 7 who’s quick and a great receiver, and (Paul) Wonka is just one tough running back. He’s a stud.”
Unatego (4-1, 2-0) can clinch the D-VII title with a victory over visiting Unadilla Valley (2-3, 0-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Spartans have won four straight.
Delhi (2-3) travels to Whitney Point at 7 p.m. Friday and Cooperstown (1-4) plays host to Mount Markham at 7 p.m. Friday.
Daily Star Sports Editor Dean Russin and sports writer Rob Centorani compiled this report.