NORWICH – Size matters, especially when paired with quickness and strength.
Johnson City’s defensive line proved almost unblockable Friday night, and when the slightest hole opened, aggressive linebackers and defensive backs plugged those gaps quickly.
The Wildcats, their own worst enemy for a quarter and a half, strung together enough error-free plays on offense to rack up three touchdowns in a 20-6 Class B playoff win over Norwich Friday night.
Norwich quarterback Seth Thomsen, and backup Casey Edwards, were sacked a combined nine times by a defensive front led by Division I recruit Daquan Jones, who will suit up for the Penn State Nittany Lions next fall.
“Defensively, they’re so sound,” said Norwich coach John Martinson.
Jones and company on the interior defensive line averaged over 275 pounds. Thomsen, who took all but a couple of snaps under center, rarely had time to throw the ball when the down and distance required a pass play. “Physically it was really hard to match up with them,” Martinson said. “Obviously, Daquan is extremely physical, but that entire defense plays that ‘fifty-two’ (defense) very well. They had nine in the box and made it very difficult for us to sustain drives more than two or three plays at a time. We would get two or three yards here, then lose five or six.”
Johnson City scored two touchdowns over the last 6 1/2 minutes of the first half. Up to that point, JC had converted just one first down, fumbled four times in the first half – losing one – and mishandled two punt returns losing another there as well.