Spartans, DeFloria sprint past Norwin
For all of Hempfield's success this season, Spartans coach Rich Bowen thought his team was still struggling to get off to quick starts.
One of Hempfield's quickest players made sure that wasn't an issue Friday night.
Senior running back Joey DeFloria ran for three first-half touchdowns and finished with 179 yards as the Spartans beat Norwin, 31-7, in Quad East action at Spartan Stadium.
“That's what we try to do every week,” DeFloria said. “Our offense is up-tempo, and we try to score on every play.”
DeFloria said the Spartans (6-2, 5-2) opened up the game in a different formation, and it helped them drive the ball deep inside Norwin territory on their first possession.
While that drive ended in a missed field goal, DeFloria made sure Hempfield scored the next time it got the ball. He took a handoff from Ty George and burst virtually untouched through the middle for a 75-yard touchdown.
“Honestly, I think my eyes were probably this big when I ran through (the hole),” said DeFloria, forming a wide circle with his hands. “I didn't even look back. I just put my head down and ran.”
DeFloria's next score came after Hempfield forced a Norwin fumble at the Knights' 2-yard line, and his third, from 11 yards out, gave the Spartans a 21-0 halftime lead.
“He's a special ballplayer,” Bowen said. “He's played like that all year, and he just keeps getting better and better.”
Also improving is Hempfield's defense, which sacked Norwin quarterback Nick Amendola five times and forced four turnovers.
“We're playing fantastic on defense,” Bowen said. “That's been (the case) probably since the McKeesport game (Week 1). We've played great the last seven, eight weeks.”
Josh Kempka put Hempfield up 28-0 with a 36-yard scoring run in the third quarter.
Peyton Deri scored on a 23-yard run for Norwin (1-7, 1-7) before John Domit capped off the scoring for Hempfield with a 33-yard field goal.
Turnovers and penalties hurt Norwin, as the Knights committed a dozen infractions on the night.
“I take 120 percent blame for this,” Norwin coach Art Tragesser said. “We came out with no focus, no energy. My fault. It's just totally my fault.”
Hempfield will close out the regular season next week at Penn-Trafford. The two teams are tied for third in the Quad East.
“I'm proud of whatever happens with these kids,” Bowen said.
“This program has come such a long way in such a short time.”