SECTION IV FOOTBALL: MAINE-ENDWELL DOMINATES NORWICH FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK, ADVANCES TO CLASS B FINAL
By ANTHONY GOSS
Broome County Sports Report
ENDWELL — Maine-Endwell checked off the first item on its agenda of defending its back-to-back state champion status Saturday afternoon. The Spartans played one more home game, hosting No. 4 Norwich in the Section IV Class B semifinal and earning a resounding 38-7 victory.
"Saturday afternoon that's Maine-Endwell football," ME head coach Matt Gallagher said. "It was great for the seniors to play one more game here and get a win like that."
A quick first drive from the Purple Tornado put the Spartans offense on the field. ME kept the ball on the ground with a helping of runs from Jaden Branch, punctuating the first drive with a one-yard punch in from quarterback Austyn Nyschot.
"They mixed some things up defensively but our guys did a great job adjusting to that," Gallagher said.
The Spartan defensive line led by Adam DeSantis denied the Norwich rushing attempts early, forcing the Purple Tornado to keep the ball in the air.
Unable to respond, the visiting team ran three plays and returned to the sideline. ME's offense began to move the ball again with running back Landon Rollo starring on the possession.
Nyschot hit Rollo for a 29-yard gain on a third-and-long play. Two plays later, the junior back scampered four yards into the endzone, putting the Spartans up 14-0 with 3:18 to play in the quarter.
ME forced three consecutive incompletions from Norwich quarterback Steven Dowdall and regained the ball within 46 seconds.
With the Purple Tornado run game struggling, ME's secondary started to assert itself and prove a suffocating force for Dowdall and his receivers.
"Our defensive secondary is getting better every week," Gallagher said. "Coach Titus is putting things together that click. We have a rotation in the back so the guys get in there and are involved."
The quick-strike Spartans turned their focus to the long ball on the first play of their third drive with Nyschot arching a pass into the outstretched arms of Jack Hennessey on a 46-yard play.
Vinny Mancini contributed the final yard on the sequence, crossing the goal line for the third ME touchdown of the quarter. The Spartans led 21-0 heading into the second frame.
A Norwich punt started the second quarter. Three plays later, Branch tallied his second touchdown of the game, dashing 53 yards away from the Norwich defense for a score.
The Purple Tornado offense got going on the next possession. Two big catches from Richard Fuller and Zachary Parker positioned Norwich deep in Spartan territory.
But a missed field goal from Spencer Root kept them off the board and ME took over. Tyler Mathews scurried past all three levels of the Norwich defense on the ensuing play, taking his carry 87 yards for a touchdown.
ME led 35-0 with 7:22 to go in the half and would take that lead into the halftime break.
Hennessey added a field goal in the third quarter and the Spartans second unit would take over in the last two quarters.
ME prepared for a third and goal, looking to add more points in the fourth quarter. But a mishandled the snap directed the ball to Sandler Montomgery of Norwich who returned the ball 83 yards to the Spartan 10.
Braden Hagenbuch took a carry for a touchdown on the next play, putting the Purple Tornado on the board late in the fourth.
The last-minute score cut into the deficit, but the Spartans claimed a 38-7 victory to advance to the Class B final next weekend against Owego.
The Riverhawks beat Windsor in the other Class B semifinal. ME beat Owego 69-0 in the first matchup between the teams this season.
Gallagher expects to face an improved group next Saturday.
The Riverhawks and Spartans will kick off at approximately 3 p.m. at Dick Hoover Stadium in Vestal.
"This is the sectional finals and they should be proud of that," Gallagher said. "But we are nowhere near satisfied.
PHOTOS BY ANTHONY GOSS
NOR: Dowdall 6-19-97
ME: Nyschot 4-5-102
NOR: Hagenbuch 10-42-1; Dowdall 2-21; Parker 1-5; Lindsay 1-1
ME: Branch 10-133-1; Raleigh 5-124; Mathews 1-87-1 Nyschot 6-43-1; Ocker 1-32; Policare 4-26; Rollo 2-8-1; Mancini 2-8-1; Caforio 2-4; Jellick 1-4; White 2-1
NOR: Fuller 3-57; Parker 1-25; Montgomery 2-15
ME: Hennessey 1-46; Rollo 1-29; Mancini 1-23; Klinger 1-5
Print Friendly Version