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Norwin football gets back in win column

| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
(c) 2012 Lillian DeDomenic
The Norwin defense, including from left, Casey Rebosky, Troy Modrak, Kyle Baum and Chad Gasparro, turned in another strong game to help the Knights snap a 13-game losing streak at home against Latrobe on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
(c) 2012 Lillian DeDomenic
Norwin freshman quarterback Nick Amendola cuts away from the Latrobe defense during Norwin's 27-14 win at Norwin Knights Stadium on Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star

No more does Norwin have no wins.

The Knights took a lead to halftime for the second straight week on Friday, but this time they made it last to snap their 13-game losing streak with a 27-14 Quad East Conference win at home over Latrobe.

Norwin (1-3, 1-3) avoided the turnovers that have plagued the team this season and controlled the ball with its running game against the Wildcats (1-3, 0-3). Freshman quarterback Nick Amendola ran for 114 yards and a score on 19 carries, senior Kyle Baum had a 73-yard touchdown run, and senior Casey Rebosky had touchdown runs of 17 and 80 yards to finish with 102 total on just eight carries.

After the game, players celebrated the team's first win since Oct. 29, 2010, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Norwin Knights Stadium, where the Knights this Friday will aim to make it two wins in a row against Connellsville (1-3, 1-2).

“It's been since 2010, so it's obviously a great feeling to get that win,” Baum said. “We needed it, and it was good for our fans to get a home win, too. It was very relieving.”

“It was a big sigh of relief to finally see all our hard work pay off,” Rebosky said. “The coaches have been saying we can do this, but to actually see it happen is a great feeling. You could still see it at school on Monday, the way all the football players were smiling. We're all pretty happy.”

Amendola's 2-yard scoring run in the second quarter made it the second time in as many weeks that the Knights took a 7-0 lead to halftime. But while McKeesport scored 26 unanswered points to top the Knights the week before, Norwin maintained control of last week's game by controlling the clock.

Rebosky's first touchdown doubled the lead, but a 30-yard score by Logan Carns made the score 14-7, late in the third quarter. Norwin responded with Baum's 73-yard scamper to close the third quarter, and when Latrobe again cut the lead on a touchdown by Robert Vasinko, Rebosky put the game away with his 80-yard run on the next play from scrimmage.

“We went out and ran the ball really well,” senior Dylan Zgurich said. “We had two running backs get hurt in the game, but people stepped up and gave us a great run game, all the way down the field.”

“There was a point in the game where they would score, then we'd score, and we went back-and-forth like that,” Rebosky said. “But when we scored that last one, we were able to hold them after that.”

The Knights' defense came up big in the closing moments, as it has been for most of the year. With the offense doing a better job of protecting the ball and forcing Latrobe to drive longer distances, the Norwin defense did the rest.

“I definitely feel like our defense is one of the strongest (in the conference),” Zgurich said. “We've all come together as a unit. We fly to the ball and each do our jobs, and it pays off for us.”

The defense will be challenged by a returning quarterback — Connellsville's Jade Maher — for the third straight week this Friday. Last year, the Falcons escaped North Huntingdon with a 31-28 win on a late field goal, but this year, Connellsville will face a much more confident Norwin club.

“The win puts everybody in a positive state of mind,” Baum said. “We want to keep practicing hard, keep playing hard, and hopefully, the wins keep coming.”

Connellsville has been inconsistent this season. It handed Hempfield its only loss of the season in Week 3, but that came after losses to Kiski Area and Gateway. Last week, the Falcons were blown out by Seneca Valley in nonconference play, 64-14, and the Falcons currently average more than 35 points allowed per game.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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