Senior night success for Norwin football
Norwin football's 2012 season went out with a bang.
The Knights picked up their second win of the year on the team's senior night, as Norwin topped visiting Shaler, 20-13, in a nonconference season finale Friday.
Norwin (2-7) scored on touchdown runs of 4 and 14 yards by freshman quarterback Nick Amendola, who finished with a team-high 124 rushing yards on 22 carries. A 73-yard pass from Amendola, who was 7-for-13 for 150 yards, to senior Casey Rebosky, who had three catches for 89 yards, proved to be the game-winning score after Shaler (0-9) added a fourth-quarter touchdown to pull within seven points.
“I was happy for those guys, especially on senior night, to get a win,” Norwin coach Art Tragesser said. “It's something nice that we can build on going into the offseason.”
The Knights took a 6-0 lead with 3:18 left in the second quarter, but Shaler put itself in a position to have the halftime edge after converting the extra point on an 11-yard touchdown to Brad Good from Josh Crawford, who led the Titans with 190 yards on 16-for-33 passing.
Norwin bounced back with a 36-yard pass from Amendola to sophomore Logan Deri to spark a strong two-minute drill, as Amendola scored again for a 12-7 halftime lead.
“When we fell behind, it could've been one of those situations where we go south again,” Tragesser said. “But we came back with a big touchdown, and later on we hit a big pass play and got a two-point conversion. Those are the plays you have to make to win games.”
That big pass play was the difference, as Rebosky made the catch and sprinted up the right sideline for another long score. A two-point conversion pass from Amendola to Deri extended the lead to 20-7 entering the fourth quarter.
Good pulled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Crawford to cut the lead with 9:54 to play, but the Titans were unable to put together a tying scoring drive. Deri capped the game with his second interception on the night, which allowed Norwin to run out the clock to end the game.
“That last pick of the game sealed it for us, and he had a great kick return in the game, too, but it got called back for a block in the back,” Tragesser said. “He made a lot of big plays for us, and he makes a big difference when he's out there. We're happy to have him coming back.”
The game against Shaler is the Knights' finale, as Norwin will not play a Week 10 game. The Knights' staff attempted to find an opponent for an additional game next week, but had no takers in the end, as the season-ending nonconference games continue to fade in popularity among WPIAL teams.
With 2012 in the books, the Knights' future looks bright with players such as Deri and Amendola among the many making a difference at such a young age.
“The other night, I was watching our seventh- and eighth-grade team and thinking that (Amendola) was playing there this time last year,” Tragesser said. “It'd be brutal for the other team if he was out there against those kids now.”
But along with those returning players come higher expectations, as Tragesser believes 2013 should be the season that Norwin is back in the playoff picture.
“Hopefully a lot of these guys go out for other sports, and we start our weight program in December,” he said. “Next year, it's no more excuses, and we shouldn't have any. Challenging for a playoff spot should be a minimum expectation.”
Before moving on to next season, Tragesser also hailed the senior group that helped pull the team through some lean times and end on a victorious note.
“I thanked those guys after the game,” Tragesser said. “Almost all had played three, if not four years, and I wanted to thank them for their dedication. The win-loss record might not have been great, but their leadership has helped us build to be more consistent in the future.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.