NORWICH – It was not a typical Norwich football script, but the game did have a familiar and happy ending against longtime foe Oneonta Friday night.
Playing before the largest home crowd this season on homecoming weekend, while also taking center stage for a nationwide Internet broadcast on ESPN360.com, the Tornado picked up their second shutout in three years over the Yellowjackets, 12-0.
“There were a lot of nerves out there,” said Norwich senior quarterback Nate Foote, who ran for one touchdown and threw for another to Chris Mattingly. “I was probably the most nervous one out there and we had some guys who were nervous. Our team didn’t get caught up in all the hype around us and maintained our focus.”
Foote and the rest of the Tornado offense were wearing out the sidelines watching an Oneonta team control the ball for most of the first half. For Norwich coach John Pluta, it must have seemed that he was looking into a mirror. Usually it is his club that is pushing defenses around and controlling the clock. “I think we ran 10 plays the entire first half,” Pluta said. “They are big and physical up front, and we told our guys they would probably be the quickest off the ball we’ve seen all season. We spread them out and they were overpenetrating. We were have to make a couple of good plays.”