WAVERLY – The Purple Tornado took a drive almost two hours out west on I-86 for what was supposed to be the Section IV Class B match-up of the season.
Norwich had other plans as they brought home their second win of the season after an emotional season opener for the Wolverines of Waverly.
A crowd of nearly 8,000 people was anticipated for the contest as Waverly hosted a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Softball team that plays all over the United States. The fundraiser was organized by a young man by the name of Paul Girolamo before the season started. Tragically, Girolamo lost is life in a car accident on August 19, just days after practices had started for fall sports across the area. As it was Waverly’s season opener, Girolamo was honored by his teammates and the town, as the saying ‘Forever 44’ was posted all over the stadium.
The Wolverines would carry the emotion from the pregame ceremonies into their play to start the game as they threatened in the first few drives of the game. Waverly forced Norwich into a four-and-out on the Tornado’s first possession. Waverly’s Matt VanHouten would capitalize with six points after a 29 yard reception on their second set of downs. The point after attempt was no good.
The Wolverines would not allow Norwich any breathing room on the first two possessions, forcing the Tornado to punt on both.
Waverly would run four plays before being forced to punt on a fourth-and-seven. Wolverine punter Eithan McEnulty would have a beautiful spiral punt that would be downed at the Norwich one yard line. With a lot of green turf in front of them, Norwich would take the field for the third drive of the game.
Purple Tornado Grant Wessels would push the team away two yards away from the end-zone on first down on first-and-ten. On the ensuing play, Norwich quarterback Zack Race would connect with his receiver Michael Carson, who came down fighting the Waverly defender for the ball and end up ripping it away, creating a 31 yard completion to give Norwich some breathing room away from the potential safety.