Norwin crushes Connellsville
Norwin’s seniors gave their teammates something to celebrate on senior night at Norwin High School Stadium.
Norwin used a dominating rushing attack, highlighted by four senior running backs and four senior linemen, to clinch a spot in the WPIAL playoffs with a 42-6 win over Connellsville in a Quad South Conference contest Friday night.
Norwin’s fullbacks stole the show early with punishing runs between the tackles. Seniors Tyler Urban and Chad Tatkus each scored two touchdowns.
“It’s a nice change of pace. Chad deserved the opportunity. He works hard every day in practice,” Norwin coach Dan Conwell said. “He gave Tyler a nice break. Some of the runs he made were pretty special. Hopefully, he’ll take that with him as we move on.”
Urban got the scoring started in the first quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run led by a key block from right tackle Jesse Dominy to give Norwin (5-3, 3-1) a 7-0 lead.
After Norwin senior Adam Dominick picked off Connellsville quarterback Cole Lowman in Falcons territory, the Knights went 30 yards in six plays for another Urban score. This one came on an 8-yard completion from quarterback Alex Dennison. The point after failed, but Norwin led, 13-0.
“That was my first catch since last season in the third game. It was my first touchdown catch,” Urban said. “Me and Alex were talking about it during practice that I was always open, but he never looked at me.”
Connellsville (1-6, 0-4) managed to drive inside the Norwin 20 on its next drive after a 20-yard run by Andrew Brooks, but an offensive pass interference penalty on Nicholas LoNigro forced a Falcons punt.
Norwin again started to move downfield, but Falcons sophomore Steven O’Donnell came up with his second big play of the game on defense, picking off Dennison at the Connellsville 41. Earlier in the game, he recovered a Mike Salopek fumble.
His interception didn’t pay off, however, as Connellsville went three-and-out on the following possession.
Norwin quickly bounced back and went 61 yards in six plays, capped off with a 17-yard touchdown run by Tatkus. He rushed three consecutive times on the drive, totaling 45 yards on quick-hitters behind the blocks of linemen Brad Rodgers, John Carter and Ryan Slack. The point after failed again to give Norwin a 19-0 advantage at the half.
A huge third quarter sealed the win for Norwin.
Salopek pushed his way into the end zone for an 11-yard score. Tatkus added a 59-yard scoring run to his 135-yard night. And sophomore Dino Saello scored from 3 yards out to put Norwin ahead, 42-0.
Connellsville finally got scored with 6:41 remaining, when quarterback Cole Lowman hooked up with Christopher Crutchman for a 16-yard score.
“He’s going to be a real good football player for us,” Connellsville coach Lou DeSimone said of the sophomore’s first start. “He made some sophomore mistakes, but we’ll straighten that all out.”
Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review high school sports editor. You can contact Bill at 412-320-7934, email@example.com or via Twitter .