Owego 20, Norwich 12
OWEGO – Norwich's hopes at a sixth straight playoff appearance did not take a hit Friday, but its confidence possibly did.
The Tornado offense was blanked over the final two quarters Friday night as Owego avenged last year's defeat to NHS.
Stavlon Canavan ran for a three-yard touchdown with three minutes left in the second quarter to push the Indians in front for good, 14-12.
The Indians added an insurance score in the fourth when C.J. Bergmann punched through the Norwich defense from one yard out.
Not only was Norwich held off the scoreboard in the second half, the offense was barely seen on the field as Owego dominated the time of possession. "It was some ridiculous time of possession advantage for them," said Norwich coach Mike Chrystie.
Chrystie said his team simply struggled to sustain drives. "We didn't have a lot of three-and-outs, but there were a lot of four- and five-play drives. We couldn't sustain anything, and credit goes to Owego. They clogged up the middle, and our guys just need to do a better job of executing to free people up."
Norwich senior running back Mike Oralls and the NHS offensive line seemed to have a handle on the Owego defense early on. Oralls scored on a two-yard run in the first quarter, and Oralls’ second TD run, a 15-yard jaunt, gave Norwich a 12-7 lead.
Oralls finished with 172 yards on 23 carries, and he nearly had a third score in the third.
After a big Oralls run took Norwich inside the Owego 10 with a first-and-goal, Norwich's drive stalled as Owego stuffed the Tornado at the two. NHS attempted a 20-yard field goal for the one-point lead, but had the kick blocked.
Owego rushed for just 102 yards on 33 carries. While Indians quarterback Logan Neira threw for 124 yards, Norwich intercepted Neira four times. Jordan Vinal had two picks, and Matt Parrella along with Everett Thompson intercepted one apiece. Junior Nick Murphy led the Norwich defense with seven tackles, one sack, and 1 1/2 tackles for a loss. Vinal, Adrian Hoffman, Cole Rifanburg, and Thompson were also key contributors to the defense.
"They had some success running the ball, but overall, we did a good job on defense," Chrystie said. "The time of possession was in their favor, and we just put too much pressure on our defense."
Norwich hosts Maine-Endwell Friday. The Spartans won their 40th straight game beating Susquehanna Valley Saturday.
Score by quarters
Nor. 6 6 0 0–12
Owe. 0 14 0 6–20
N: Mike Oralls 2 run (kick failed).
O: Logan Neira 11 pass to Eric Larrabee (Dan Wolfe kick)
N: Oralls 15 run (run failed)
O: Stavlon Caravan 3 run (Wolfe kick)
O: C.J. Bergmann 1 run (kick failed)
First downs 8 16
Rushes-yds 39-186 33-102
Passing yds 0 124