By Hawk Edwards
Editor’s note: Today’s article on Barry Benjamin is the second part of a seven-part series profiling the 2012 Norwich Sports Hall of Fame induction class.
One of this year’s 2012 inductees into the Norwich High School Sports Hall of Fame is 1983 graduate, Barry Benjamin. Barry was an outstanding three-sport star in basketball, track and especially football, where he was a two-year All-County selection, and in 1982, was named The Evening Sun’s Most Valuable Player. Benjamin was also an All-Metro selection for the Binghamton Press as a running back after the 1982 season.
On Friday night, Oct 2, 1981, in his junior season versus Corning West, Benjamin had 34 carries for 324 yards, a STAC record at the time, while also breaking the single-game Section IV rushing record. In that game, Benjamin had six TDs (one by interception and five rushing). His first score was a 59-yard interception return, and he followed with touchdown runs of 3, 72, 3, 64 and 46 yards. Norwich won the game 41-36.
Less than 24 hours later Dave Harby of Walton broke Benjamin’s section record with 344 yards on 42 rushes.
On Nov. 1, 1980, during his sophomore season – and in the last regularly-scheduled high school game played at Alumni Field – Benjamin had TD runs of 25 and 70 yards versus Binghamton North, then coached by Jud Blanchard. With those runs, Benjamin showed his breakaway speed. Binghamton put 52 points on the board, and Blanchard said in the game summary he felt he needed to keep scoring because he respected the Norwich offense (and Benjamin) so much. Benjamin had 119 yards rushing on just eight carries, and gave a glimpse of his future greatness. In his sophomore season, Benjamin had 475 yards and three TDs. In his junior season, Benjamin rushed for 1,006 yards in just seven games and had 12 touchdowns. During his senior season, he not only led the defense with 78 tackles to go with three interceptions, but he capped his career with 1,172 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Of those touchdowns, eight went for 40 yards or more. Barry also had three punt returns for touchdowns. What’s even more impressive about his 1,172 yards was that his teammate, sophomore Pat Stevens, had 823 yards on 117 carries.