NORWICH – Norwich coach John Martinson told his players he would never forget Friday night’s game. It’s a good bet, his players will not soon forget it either.
Norwich matched Windsor’s overtime touchdown, but converted the game-winning extra-point kick to defeat the Black Knights, 29-28, Friday night at Norwich High School.
Norwich (1-0, 1-3) opened its season with three straight non-league losses, but is now perfect in division play, and one step closer to a postseason berth. “I said in the preseason, I don’t care if we’re 4-4. If you can win all four of your division games, you’re the champions,” Martinson said.
With the game tied at 22 entering overtime – the first NHS overtime contest in recent memory – neither club wasted much time punching the ball in for six points.
The Black Knights (0-4) won the coin flip, and used just five plays to score. Noah Sibley, a 218-pound senior fullback, had an eight-yard first-down run to the NHS eight, and two plays later, quarterback David Goetz scampered around the left end into the left corner of the endzone.
On the pivotal two-point conversion, Ryan Hayes was stopped short of the goal.
Norwich was even more efficient with its overtime possession. Paddy Law dashed 12 yards for a first down, then tacked on five more on the subsequent play. Tyler Hoffman gained one yard, then quarterback Seth Thomsen quick-snapped the ball and barged forward for the two-yard TD sneak.
Josh Favaloro was called upon for the extra point. Martinson considered a two-point attempt, but eventually decided on his junior kicker, who had converted 3-of-4 attempts on the season. Favaloro’s attempt could not have been more true as it split the uprights.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of Josh,” Martinson said.
Law, who led NHS with 61 yards rushing and three catches for 41 yards, said the overtime philosophy was a simple one. “We pretty much wanted to pound it at them,” Law said. “We didn’t think they could stop us, and they didn’t.”