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October 7, 2012

Warriors fall, 31-30, in thriller

By Rob Centorani
The Daily Star

---- — SIDNEY _ A see-saw fourth quarter that belied the physical and defensive nature of this Section Four Football Conference Division V game on the mud pit that was Sidney’s field ultimately was decided by an extra point.

Jack Sherwood sneaked the PAT inside the right upright with about 3 yards to spare to give unbeaten Chenango Forks a wild, 31-30 victory over the Warriors on Friday night.

Sidney (4-2, 2-1) took a 30-24 lead with 1:26 remaining on an impromptu call on a fourth-and-10 from the Blue Devils’ 26. Two 15-yard penalties _ a roughing the passer call and a pass interference infraction _ helped Sidney move to the Forks’ 26.

But three straight incompletions followed.

Warriors coach called timeout. Sidney had run its drive exclusive out of a spread formation, but on fourth down, it went to its customary double-wing formation. With Billy Kozak lined to quarterback Patrick Vibbard’s right, Vibbard took the shotgun snap and rolled his right. Kozak slipped into the left flat and was wide open. Vibbard then whirled and threw perfect pass to back Kozak, who caught it on the run and cruised into the left side of the end zone.

Kozak said he suggested the call to coach Jeff Matthews during the timeout.

Vibbard then hit Mike Ward on a quick slant on the two-point play to make it a six-point game.

But Sidney’s ensuing squib kick traveled 7 yards, giving the Blue Devils (6-0, 2-0) possession at the Warriors’ 47.

After hitting a hook and lateral on third-and-10, with JC Sweeney hitting Andrew Ziegenfus near the left sideline and Ziegenfus pitching back to Jake Green for a 17-yard gain, Forks scored on the next play.

Sweeney found an uncovered Cody DeOrdio about 20 yards downfield on the right side. DeOrdio made one defender miss with a cut to the middle en route to the end zone with 1:00 left.

Forks hadn’t attempted an extra point all night, but after taking back-to-back timeouts, Sherwood came on for the winning PAT.

Sidney got the ball back with 52.2 seconds at its 37, but three incompletions followed by a middle screen to Kozak that went nowhere on fourth down ended the Warriors’ chances.

“That was by far the most physical game I’ve played in,” said Kozak, who made an impressive adjustment on an underthrown ball by Vibbard and scored on a 70-yard play in the first quarter.

The Blue Devils went ahead, 24-22, with 2:52 left in the fourth quarter after a late pass interference call.

On third-and-goal from the 10, Sweeney threw to the end zone. Sidney’s Nate McDonald got his hand on the ball, but about two seconds after the play, the official in the back of the end zone

dropped his flag and called

interference.

It gave Forks a first down at the 5 and Isaiah Zimmer scored off the left side for his second touchdown of the night.

“It was a great high school football game,” said Matthews, whose team will still qualify for the Section Four Class C playoffs with a win at Newark Valley in two weeks. “We don’t like to be on the losing side, but that was a great game.”

The Warriors saw two key players injured.

Brandon Walters injured his left ankle on the first play from scrimmage. He continued to play at linebacker on the hobbled leg but played sparingly on offense the rest of the way.

The other injury appeared far more damaging. Two-way starter Damian Zimmer made a leaping interception in the middle of the field with 2:36 left in the second quarter. He headed left on the return and didn’t appear to see DeOrdio until the last second. DeOrdio went low on the tackle and his helmet hit Zimmer’s left knee. Zimmer left the field on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital.