After close loss, Norwin preps for conference finale against Hempfield
The Norwin football team nearly pulled off a huge upset last week.
The Knights have a chance at another upset Friday night.
Norwin (1-6, 1-6) will close out conference play with a game at playoff-bound Hempfield (5-2, 4-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Spartans pounded Butler, 42-7, in nonconference play last week and are led by star runing back Joey DeFloria (1,112 yards, eight touchdowns) and quarterback Ty George (1,048 rushing and passing yards, 10 total touchdowns).
“We have a big challenge because they have the best running back (Joey DeFloria) and best quarterback (Ty George) in our section,” Tragesser said. “It's going to be a big challenge for us to try to contain them. They have a big, strong offensive and defensive line. So it'll be a big challenge.”
Norwin faced a major challenge last week against Gateway, the Tribune-Review's No. 3 team in Class AAA. The Knights and Gators stayed scoreless through three quarters, but two fourth-quarter touchdowns by FBS recruit Montae Nicholson allowed Gateway to escape with a 13-6 victory.
“We did a great job,” Tragesser said. “I'm very happy with the way the kids played. They should be proud of themselves.”
Gateway came into the game averaging more than 30 points per game, but Norwin clamped down on the Gators' usually prolific passing game for three quarters before backup quarterback Delvon Randall found Nicholson for two fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
“They have, what, four or five Division I players?” Tragesser said. “We did a great job. They put up (35) points against North Allegheny,” the three-time defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion.
Norwin had two big chances to take a lead over Gateway. The Knights were stopped on the goal line in the first half, and a long touchdown pass was called back because of a penalty in the second half.
Zack Tinsley, who finished with 123 yards rushing, scored in the fourth quarter to cut Norwin's deficit to 7-6. The Knights attempted a two-point conversion, but it failed. Nicholson scored his second touchdown with about 90 seconds left, ultimately putting the game out of reach.
“We played hard,” Tragesser said. “I'm sure the kids are going to come out and play hard this week also.”