By Patrick Newell
Sun Sports Editor
NORWICH – Greene learned a lot about its defense in the fourth quarter Saturday night at Norwich.
The Trojans survived two Norwich scoring drives deep inside its territory in the last stanza, the latter a fourth-and-goal from the one, to prevail over the Tornado, 16-15, in the two schools’ first-ever meeting.
Not only did Greene need to ward off the scoring drives, but it had to survive a 45-yard field goal attempt on a free kick by Norwich with mere seconds on the clock. That, boot, too fell short of the mark.
“We wanted to use this as a stepping stone, and it was a chance to grade ourselves at this point of the season,” said Greene senior running back Jake Wentlent.
Wentlent set up Greene’s winning score in the third quarter returning a kickoff 68 yards to the Norwich 18. On the next play, Nate Whittaker found Justin Van Wert on an 18-yard scoring toss to the right corner of the end zone, the duo’s second scoring hookup of the game. Whittaker then found a slanting Van Wert for the two-point conversion and one-point advantage.
“They made big plays when they needed to make them,” said Norwich coach John Pluta, whose club pushed around its Chenango County opponent most of the second half, but two turnovers conspired against the hosts. “We turned the ball over four or five times, and you can’t do that against a good team.”