The opponent this week for Norwich (1-1) tonight is longtime rival Chenango Forks (2-1), a school the Purple Tornado have not beaten since the 1999 Class B championship team routed the Blue Devils. The focus, though, isn’t just preparing for the Blue Devils, but restoring the physical brand of play for which NHS is known. Sidney consistently beat Norwich at the line of scrimmage last week in a 12-6 win over Norwich, and the NHS coaching staff took notice.
“It came down to the basics: We didn’t block or tackle well last week,” said Norwich coach John Martinson. “We saw that as coaches, and it was something we had to work on. We want to be more physical up front in running our base offense, and everyone needs to take personal accountability. We’ve had a good week of practice, and I expect the kids will play hard.”
Chenango Forks is no longer a rival to Norwich in the Class B ranks, but it is the marquis program in Section IV over the past 10 years “They have a fantastic program, and we’ve had a difficult time beating them,” Martinson said “Forks doesn’t rebuild, they reload (every year). They are tough in the red zone and play great defense.”
The Blue Devils rebounded from a 21-0 loss to Greene with a 21-7 win over Chenango Valley last weekend. Senior fullback Lukas Aston is the key to the offensive attack, Martinson said. “Their entire offense is based around him,” Martinson said of Aston.
Quarterback Zach Jeske is dangerous running and throwing the ball, and the stable of dangerous backs includes Jacob Green, Kyle Fleicher, and Ethan Cook. “We’ll have our work cut out for us, but we need to take care of the ball and play Norwich football,” Martinson said.
Hamilton/Morrisville-Eaton (1-1, 1-2) at Sherburne-Earlville (2-0, 2-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
With the exception of the second half in its opening game – and mostly the final quarter – Sherburne-Earlville’s defense has remained stingy, and is allowing on average less than 100 yards rushing per game. In Hamilton/Morrisville-Eaton, the Marauders face a team that may prefer a spread passing attack over a strong running game. “They’re a decent club, and the like to throw it around,” said S-E head coach, Mike Jasper. “They have played both of their league opponents tough, so we can’t take them lightly.”