Norwich 14, Owego 7
OWEGO – A last-second defensive stand allowed Norwich to preserve its first win of the season, Friday night at Owego.
Norwich’s second touchdown of the game, a five-yard TD run from Grant Brightman in the second quarter, stood up throughout the second half and into the waning seconds of the fourth.
Owego, directed by quarterback Brandon Morris, reached Norwich’s five-yard line with 11 seconds left, and was faced with a fourth-and-two. “It was the last play from scrimmage, and we didn’t even think they would get the play off,” said Norwich fourth-year head coach John Martinson.
Morris dropped back to pass, and under tremendous pressure from the NHS front, was sacked by junior Ryan Hayes to end the game.
“We had some outstanding play on defense from Ryan, Matt Burke, Matt Lippa, and Storm Cook,” Martinson said, who also noted Brightman’s team-high nine tackles. “Our guys did a great job staying at home and doing their jobs. Really, at the end of the game, you don’t want to be on defense and holding your breath. But we had kids step up.
Norwich overcame four turnovers – two fumbles and two interceptions – by taking advantage of some early scoring opportunities. Brightman received the opening kickoff – a short squib kick to the 25 – picked up a block from Burke, and raced 75 yards untouched for the opening touchdown.
Zach House squirted 30 yards through the NHS defense to tie the game on a TD run before the Tornado regained the lead following a big play on special teams.
On fourth down, House, the punter, was sacked for a six-yard loss by Hayes and Lippa on the Owego 37. Brightman burst for 26 yards on first down, and two plays later moved the Tornado in front.
Brightman finished with 118 yards rushing, and the Tornado running game averaged 5.4 yards per carry. “It was our first win and it was an ugly win,” Martinson said. “Sometimes that first win is the toughest. We’re thankful to have that, we just need to correct some of those mistakes.”
Norwich plays its home opener Friday against Sidney.
JV notes: Norwich’s junior varsity evened its mark at 1-1 beating Owego 21-7. Matthew Craig had two runs, and Jacob Perrone rushed for 88 yards and a score. Perrone, Sam Barber, Dan Conant, and Nick Murphy led the NHS junior varsity defense, said head coach Kurt Edwards.
Score by quarters
NHS 7 7 0 0–14
Owg 7 0 0 0–7
N: Grant Brightman 75 kickoff return (Zan Stewart kick)
O: Zach House 30 run (Wolfe kick)
N: Brightman 5 run (Stewart kick)
First downs 11 14
Rushes-yds 37-200 44-129
Passing yds 0 83
Comp-att-int 0-5-2 6-13-0
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-1