The scenario was set for a miracle Norwich drive to beat Windsor in regulation. About 80 seconds remained on the clock in the fourth quarter, and the Tornado needed to move 80 yards for a score.
It was not a favorable situation for the typically run-based Tornado offense, that, as recently as the 2007 season, threw the ball just 42 times over the course of a nine-game season.
What did head coach John Martinson do? He went to a hurry-up two-minute offense. “We’ve worked a lot on that in practice,” Martinson said.
The key to the offense was receiving proper protection for the quarterback, and sophomore Seth Thomsen, operating out of the shotgun formation, had plenty of time to look over the defense and deliver strike after strike. Thomsen completed 7-of-9 pass attempts over the second half, and his lone incompletions were spike-downs to stop the clock. “Tom Stoddard, our offensive line coach, has done a tremendous job with our linemen in setting up the pass protection,” Martinson said. “We still want to do what we do well (run the ball), but we’re adding a little bit to the offense each week, and we want to attack our opponent’s weaknesses.”
Thomsen’s last-minute drive did not yield a touchdown, but he did move Norwich 60 yards quite easily, and with just one remaining timeout in the Tornado’s pocket. On the last play of the game, an audible was called in which Thomsen faked a spike-down and rolled out for a pass play. Martinson later said the audible was missed, and Thomsen was pulled down at the line of scrimmage to end regulation time.
Thomsen later scored the tying touchdown in overtime, and all was well when kicker Josh Favolaro kicked the winning extra-point.
Bainbridge-Guilford’s offense has struck gold after struggling the first six quarters of the season. The Bobcats had less than 200 yards of offense in an opening loss to Sidney and just one offensive touchdown, then turned it over a handful of times in the first half against Harpursville as they were locked in a 6-6 tie.
Since halftime against the Hornets, B-G has scored 116 points over 2 1/2 games putting 96 points on the board the last two weeks against Hancock and Deposit respectively.
“The one thing we have done that we weren’t doing early in the season is clicking on offense right from the start,” Mattingly said. “Our goal is to start strong and finish strong, and we were really able to do that last week against Deposit.”