NORWICH – It was as much an outpouring of emotion as one has seen in a post-game victory celebration at Norwich in many, many years.
One would have thought the Purple Tornado had won the Super Bowl, but in fact it was just a non-league game with Maine-Endwell. Still, it was an astronomical boost of collective confidence for a group of young men who were raked over the coals and beaten up soundly a week ago at Windsor.
“This is a good football team we just beat,” said Norwich coach John Pluta after a 26-18 victory Friday night. “They lost to Chenango Forks in the last seconds and blew out two of their opponents. We have to feel good about this. We were embarrassed by Windsor last week (40-0), and to come back the way we did shows the type of football team we are.”
And it wasn’t as if the Purple-clad home club had all of its bullets in the chamber. Due to injuries and other occurrences, the Tornado started three offensive linemen for the first time, leading rusher Chris Mattingly moved from tailback to fullback, and Jesse Prosser made his first start in Mattingly’s old position. What Norwich had to show for its reshuffled lineup was over 300 yards of total offense, and Prosser gaining 108 yards in his first start.