South Fork Football Completes Worst-to-First Run with Decisive Championship Win Over Rincon Valley

South Fork players hoist the championship trophy Saturday night in Santa Rosa [Photo by Jeff Henderson]

South Fork High’s football players could hardly imagine hoisting a trophy when their 0-10 season ended last year, but when head coach Andy Olsen had the courage to move the team into an 8-man playing format, he gave a very talented, if low in numbers, core group of football players a new lease on life.

Last Saturday night on the road at Rincon Valley Christian High School just outside of Santa Rosa, the Cubs made a statement, defeating RVC 28-14. South Fork held the best 8-man team from the southern end of the league, who had been averaging 60 points a game, to a mere 2 touchdowns. RVC’s impressive running back, Will Maples, who has racked up 1300 yards in 7 games was held to 105 yards, most of which came on 2 carries. Senior Aaron Etherton had 4 sacks and 14 tackles to lead the defense.

South Fork got on the board first when, after pushing RVC back from the Cub ten-yardline, the running game took them all the way to RVC’s 6 yardline. Junior quarterback CJ Van Meter tossed a 6-yard pass to junior wide receiver Cody Wyatt for the TD. The Cubs made a two-point conversion on a fake kick play with senior Scott Coffelt hitting Van Meter in the endzone.

Gabe Malley, #9, on one of his 23 carries Saturday night [Photo by Jeff Henderson]

In the second quarter, the Cubs scored again when senior Gabe Malley recovered an RVC fumble and carried it 32 yards for the score. On their very next drive South Fork scored again when Coffelt, getting good blocks from senior lineman Jon Jon Gotcher, found the endzone after a 42 yard carry.

With just 2 seconds left in the first half, RVC finally managed to score on a long passing play. They made the extra point, and the halftime score was 20-7.

“The guys were upset at halftime,” said Olsen. “They were concerned there had been a momentum shift.” But Olsen blamed himself for poor clock management, telling his team he was to blame for the RVC score and letting them know their confidence should not be affected.

CJ Van Meter throwing a pass Saturday night in Santa Rosa [Photo by Jeff Henderson]

The Cubs mounted a long drive in the 3rd quarter, culminating in a TD on a halfback pass from Coffelt to senior wide receiver Ryder Pfau. Coffelt ran in the 2-point conversion in to  make the score 28-7.

With 7 minutes to go in the game, RVC scored for the last time to make the score 28-14. They were out of timeouts and never got the ball again as South Fork wisely ran out the clock, kneeling 3 times while camped out on the RVC 2 yardline.

“It was defense and the running game that led to victory,” said Olsen.  Cornerbacks Wyatt and Van Meter shut down RVC’s passing game. “They had no answers for Aaron [Etherton],” said Olsen. “They double teamed him but could not contain him.”

Scott Coffelt #3 running the ball Saturday night in Santa Rosa [Photo by Jeff Henderson]

Malley rushed for 132 yards and Coffelt for 92. “Malley rarely goes down on first contact,” said Olsen of his speedy, tackle-breaking senior.

The Cubs had no turnovers in the game, forcing 4 fumbles from RVC. They were penalized for just 5 yards. South Fork got impressive leadership from Van Meter who handled the wet ball flawlessly and was 6 for 8 passing with one TD. “He sees things from a different perspective out there,” said Olsen, “and he makes good suggestions.”

The Cubs brought home an impressive trophy which will live on campus until next year. “We hope we can defend next year,” said Olsen. While the team is graduating 7 outstanding players, there will be 12 or 13 returners next fall who already know the smaller format and also know what it feels like to win.

“What a great group of guys,” said Olsen.

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6 comments

  • I graduated from South Fork High School in 1966. I played football for four years, with nothing outstanding being done by our team. Just wanted to send a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to the Cubs for their outstanding football season. Your guys really ROCK, and make me proud of the Cubs. Thank you also to Coach Olsen and staff. Wanted to mention that one of our better players was Johnny Van Meter. May he rest in peace. I am guessing CJ Van Meter is related to Johnny.
    Hope you guys can hold on to that trophy next season. Best of luck to all of you!

    • Suzanne Van Meter

      ^ CJ (Christopher John) is indeed John’s grandson. It has been a wonderful season played by a great group of guys coached by dedicated men who donate countless hours to practice, maintaining the fields, driving to games, and fundraising so the kids can play. Sincerest thanks to the kids for playing, the parents for supporting and Andy and his crew for coaching.

      • Thank you Suzanne for your comment. Bet John has a big smile on his face from watching his grandson. He was a good friend.

  • Maybe coach Olsen should take over the 49er coaching job. Awesome game and season SOUTH FORK CUBS !!

  • Great job coaches, parents,family members and especially the players of the team. I used to play a little ball for SF back in the day and I was lucky enough to watch the fellas play a couple of times this year. The game in Upper Lake was a blast. This team is something you will remember for a long,long time. You should be proud of yourselves this accomplishment, I know I am.

  • GO CUBS!!!

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