NORWICH – Greene’s understudies were called into duty Friday night at Norwich High School, and performed to rave reviews.
Trojans backup quarterback Cole Browning directed his team on a 65-yard TD march, one that was finished off by backup running back Joel Roselle’s two-yard plunge with 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter as Greene defeated the Purple Tornado, 12-7 on NHS’s senior recognition night.
The Tornado, losers of three straight at home, had one final possession, but quarterback Mike Sutton’s desperation pass was intercepted by Trojans defensive back Lane Whittaker to end a last-chance rally.
Browning’s numbers were not especially gaudy: He rushed for 22 yards and passed for 33, but regularly worked himself out of troublesome situations scrambling for positive yards. Roselle, seeing significant time in place of hobbled running back Mike Beckwith, finished with 53 yards rushing.
“We talk about this all the time in practice: When one guy goes down, it creates an opportunity for another,” said Greene head coach Tim Paske. “With Mike hurt (and starting quarterback Joe Beckwith out with an injury), we repped other guys all week. We gave them the opportunity tonight, and they were able to get the job done.”
The Trojans didn’t make it easy on themselves despite a dominant second half in which they had possession of the ball two-thirds of the time. On the winning drive, Greene committed two penalties, and in the third quarter, drove to Norwich’s two-yard line. A fumbled snap on third-and-goal lost a yard, and Norwich lineman Joe Smith made a shoestring tackle of a scrambling Browning for an eight-yard loss to end the scoring threat.