Norwich and head coach John Martinson are not in a sharing mood. The Tornado take the field Saturday afternoon at Chenango Valley as the Section IV Division III front-runner. They have a one-game lead over CV and Oneonta, and the goal is to finish with a perfect division record and enjoy the spoils of hosting a first-round playoff game. “We believe it is our destiny to win a championship, we’ve earned our position to be in a championship game, and we don’t want to share the division title with anyone,” said Norwich third-year coach John Martinson. “We took the first two steps in the division, and now we need to take that third step against Chenango Valley.”
Two years ago, Norwich beat Chenango Valley in Greene for the Division III title, and last year, the Warriors earned a shutout win over NHS en route to a division championship as Norwich settled for the runner-up spot. Just like last year, running back Adam Greene and quarterback Kevin Cox pace the CV attack. Cox had two TD runs in last year’s 12-0 win at Norwich, and Greene rushed for 125 yards.
“I think Chenango Valley is committed to the run this year more than it ever has been,” Martinson said. “Greene has a lot of speed, they have a good fullback, and Cox is back. They run a lot of different formations, and they have put a lot of points on the board.”
Norwich (4-2) had intermittent success moving the ball against CV (3-3) last year, and is an improved offensive team this year averaging about 261 yards of total offense per game. Norwich has looked to establish fullback Grant Brightman the past two weeks, and the junior back is coming off his two best running games of the season. Seth Thomsen threw for a season-high 166 yards in a loss to Johnson City, so Norwich has the capability of moving the ball through the air when necessary. Nonetheless, Martinson knows that establishing a ball-control offense is his clearest path to victory. “We were a little unNorwichlike last week,” Martinson said. “We want to get back to our base running package like we did against Oneonta and Windsor. We hope to match up well and give them a heavy dose of our running game.”
Elsewhere this week:
Sidney (4-2) at Greene (7-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Greene carries an unblemished record into tonight’s game, and can complete a perfect run through the division – and regular season play – for the second time in four years. “This is championship week for us,” said Greene coach Tim Paske. “If we get the win, we’ll be the number one seed in the playoffs. If we lose, we’ll be division co-champs and the number two seed. We’ve put a lot of work in, and we’d hate to lose it in one week.”