For many area schools, the preliminaries are over, and it's now time to get down the business of division games.
One school that has yet to play a division game is Norwich. The Tornado (0-2), though, will likely get a sense of where they stand amongst the Class B pool when they host three-time Section IV and three-time defending state champion Maine-Endwell tonight at 7 p.m.
The Spartans (2-0) have played Norwich three times over the past two seasons, and not one of the contests – all M-E wins – was decided by less than five touchdowns.
"From what they've built the last three years, they won't go away soon," said Norwich coach Mike Chrystie of the Spartans. "The kids replacing the kids that graduated, many have gone through the championships, and have bought in to what they are doing. (Maine-Endwell) is the standard for Section IV Class B until someone knocks them off."
Unlike its usual blowout wins, Maine-Endwell has won its first two games by "relatively comfortable" margins. A much-improved Susquehanna Valley team pushed the Spartans deep into the fourth quarter until a fourth-quarter touchdown sealed the Spartans' 27-14 win.
Norwich, meanwhile, has struggled at producing consistent offense. It was good for two quarters in the opening game against Binghamton, and good for two quarters against Owego last week.
"We've struggled with consistency on offense, and Owego was much more physical than we thought they would be," Chrystie said. ""We're trying to get more people involved in the offense so we can take the pressure off of our defense."
When it comes to game planning for Maine-Endwell, Chrystie said he has his team focusing on itself first. "We wanted to improve each week, and we didn't improve last week," Chrystie said. "Win or lose this week, we're looking to become a better football team as we go into division play."