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Norwin football team still seeking first victory

| Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Norwin Star
Norwin quarterback Nick Amendola runs downfield during the Knights' game against McKeesport on Sept. 13, 2013, at Norwin Stadium.

The Norwin football team ended the first third of the season without a victory.

With the WPIAL playoffs still on their mind, the Knights enter a crucial three-game stretch of conference matchups.

Norwin (0-3, 0-3 Quad East Conference) will travel to take on Latrobe (1-2, 0-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. The Knights beat the Wildcats, 27-14, last season for their only conference victory, and they'll look to get their season on the right track with another victory Friday.

The Latrobe contest will be followed by a road game at Connellsville (0-3, 0-3) on Sept. 27 and a home date with Kiski Area (2-1, 2-1) on Oct. 4.

“As I told the kids: We're done with the first third of the season. The next third is coming up, and it's critical for us,” Norwin coach Art Tragesser said. “Obviously, the Friday night game is the first part of that. Our backs are to the wall now, and we just need to come out and let go.”

The Knights fell to 0-3 on the season after a 28-7 loss to McKeesport last week. Despite the loss, Tragesser said he saw some good things.

Norwin hung with McKeesport (3-0, 2-0), the Tribune-Review's sixth-ranked team in Class AAAA, for three quarters before ultimately falling short. McKeesport led, 14-7, through three quarters before two fourth-quarter touchdown runs ultimately put the game away.

“If you'd have seen McKeesport against Woodland Hills (the Tigers beat the Wolverines, 33-20, on Sept. 7), I think you'd have realized how good our kids played,” Tragesser said. “Woodland Hills is in the top echelon all the time, and McKeesport really just took it to them. Our kids, I thought, did a very nice job containing a very powerful running attack with some very skilled people.”

Quarterback Nick Amendola and wide receiver Kyle Baum connected on a 9-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, marking the Knights' first touchdown of the season. Tragesser said he's looking for more offensive consistency this week.

“If we have some offense and are moving the ball, that helps the defense out tremendously with field position and how the game's going,” he said.

“It dictates a lot of things we're doing on defense, too, so it's important we can muster some offense — get some offense going and put a little pressure on the other team to do some things.”

Latrobe is led by quarterback Logan Carns, who passed for 136 yards and also scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in a 20-8 victory over Fox Chapel last week. Running back Lucas Monteparte scored twice against the Foxes.

While the Wildcats enter Friday's game with a losing record, Tragesser said it's a misleading one. Latrobe nearly upset No. 4 Gateway in Week 1 before falling, 22-20.

And Tragesser believes his team's record is misleading, as well.

“If you measure everything in wins and losses, obviously we're not successful,” he said. “But we played two of the better teams in our section over the last two weeks. We keep working — the kids are working hard — and hopefully we'll start to gel and get a couple big plays that can help us.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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