NORWICH – Norwich had the comeback magic and ability to overcome mistakes while compiling an unblemished record. Then again, it wasn’t playing Chenango Forks
The Blue Devils, coming off its first division loss since the 2000 season, looked every bit like a team ready to defend seven straight sectional titles beating the Tornado, 21-6 Friday night on Ulrich Field.
The outcome not only placed the first blemish a once perfect record for the Tornado, but it also put Norwich in must-win situation the rest of the way in order to make the playoffs. “The good thing is that we are still in charge of our own playoff destiny,” said Norwich coach John Pluta, noting about the only measure of solace from the Section IV, Division IV game.
Turnovers or penalties – and sometimes both – seem to have followed Norwich into the first quarter of nearly every game. It was the latter that plagued an apparent auspicious defensive stand to start the game
After holding Forks on three plays, Norwich was whistled for a running-into-the-punter five-yard infraction. That moved the chains forward five yards for a first down, and two times later in the drive, Norwich jumped offsides to advance the marker. Using up 10 minutes and 13 seconds of possession, Forks mercifully ended a time-chewing drive on Tim Zdimal’s two-yard TD run.
Norwich had trouble gathering the ensuing kickoff, and was pinned inside the 10-yard line leading to another three-and-out. The three-and-outs ensued on Norwich’s next drives – its only ones of the half.