Norwich pulls out emotional win

ONEONTA – Throw records out the window when Norwich and Oneonta meet on the gridiron.

In an emotional matchup that had a playoff-like air, a gritty Tornado team drove for the winning score in the final two minutes to salvage a 20-15 victory Friday night at Lloyd Baker Field.

Norwich senior quarterback, Robert Martin, guided the Purple on a 10-play, 54-yard drive, and his seven-yard bootleg keeper hit paydirt with 1:51 to play.

Oneonta drove to the Norwich 34 in the final seconds, but NHS linemen Marco Knuth and Jose Santos sacked Oneonta quarterback Brandon Southard on the final play of the game to seal the victory.

“All year long this group has kept coming back,” said Norwich coach John Pluta. “We got back up off the floor in this game after they took the lead…coach Hoover (Adam) is family to me, and I’m best of friends with his parents. This is an emotional win; I watched Adam grow up, and he’s done a great job over there.”

Hoover’s club gained control of the game completing two long touchdown drives in the second half to take the lead with 7:33 left in the game. Quarterback Brandon Southard improvised on a two-point conversion that gave his club the lead. After rolling to his right and finding no open receivers, he avoided a sack by the Tornado’s Amos Parry, raced back to his left and dove inside the left pylon for the one-point lead. “We did a nice job dictating the pace on offense in the second half,” Hoover said. “They capitalized on our mistakes in the first half, and it’s tough to come back from 14 points down against a team like Norwich.”

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