Frank Speziale Photo
NORWICH – Senior night 2016 against longtime rival Oneonta could not have been dreamt up any better for the Norwich Purple Tornado, who walked away the victors of a late fourth quarter drive and defensive stop for the 35-34 victory.
“This years game I would call a classic as far as the rivalry goes. I am sure it was a great game to watch, maybe a little stressful from the coaching perspective but it's definitely as Mr. Carnrike said, one that will definitely be an instant classic and I couldn’t agree more,” said Norwich head coach Michael Chrystie. “Just like our game earlier with Sus. Valley, one team had to lose and one team had to win, and it really was a hard fought game by both sides.”
Prior to the game Norwich celebrated their 13 graduating football players – Cole Rifanburg, Ky'sawn Veale, Paul Russell, Austin McCloskey, Christobal Caballero,Timmy Thompson, Zach Clipston, Carter Hubbard, Carter Rudnitski, Josh Hagenbuch, Egan Parmalee, Jakob Franklin, and Austin Fink – as well as their five graduating cheerleaders – Summer Budd, Samantha Jo Hall, Corrina Mundy, Hannah Williamson, and Lilly Winton.
Norwich found themselves struggling on both sides of the ball in the first half, as they were plummeted into a 22-7 hole after just entering the third quarter.
However, as coach Chrystie said, 'something clicked' for the Tornado who climbed back from this deficit one play at a time.
“We got down 22-7 and then 28-13, we just couldn’t get inside that two score game. Then something clicked, things started going our way,” said coach Chrystie. “It was good to see that our guys didn’t give up, there were several points in the game where our guys could've packed it in. For our team to not give up and really play all the way to the end is exactly what we preach within our program on a daily basis. It's one thing to preach it and another to see them go out and execute it.”