TOWN OF CHENANGO (WBNG) - Chenango Forks take the field for its state semifinal football Saturday afternoon at Union-Endicott High School. The Blue Devils can do it in all three phases on the football field but its the Blue Devils' defense, 12 Sports is calling the Curtain of Blue, that's turning heads this season.
"Defense wins championships," said Chenango Forks senior defensive back Sean Wiser.
"For us, our defense is everything," said Chenango Forks junior defensive back Jake Topa.
"Try to be the hardest-hitting defense out there," said Chenango Forks senior defensive end Connor Borchardt.
"Defense is kind of the heart and soul of our team," said Wiser.
That was never more prevalent than Saturday in regionals against Homer. Two early fumbles put Forks in a tough position, but the defense stepped up, only allowing a field goal.
"That was probably the worst start we had all year," said Wiser. We just kind of said, 'we have to grind it out, we have to grind it out guys, we gotta stop them.'"
Once the offense found its groove, the defense sealed the game on a Jake Topa interception in the end zone.
"That was amazing," said Topa. "Only being a junior, knowing I have one more year left, just to step up that big for our seniors meant everything to me."
The Curtain of Blue has only allowed one team to score double-digits all season.
"That's what you think about when you think of Forks football," said Borchardt. "Defense and having tough guys back there."
"Just the way we practice," said Topa. "When we go on defense for first-team session, we always like to keep a high-tempo. We always get on our preppies to pick it up. They are what gets us better."
So, what's Chenango Forks' mentatily on defense?
"Three-and-out, every play," said Wiser. "That's what we try for, just three-and-out."
The Blue Devils set the bar high from the start with these preseason goals.
"Not to allow more than 13 points," said Wiser. "Have the ball-carrier have less than three yards on average. No big plays, and we have to force three or more turnovers."
Whether its Connor Borchardt coming off the edge or Sean Wiser picking off passes in the secondary, opposing offense will remember playing the Blue Devils.
"We take pride in our defense," said Borchardt. "We love doing it. We love hitting people and we love having fun, being with each other."
Chenango Forks will be tested again on Saturday. Cheektowaga, its opponent on Saturday, averages more than 36 points per game this season. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.