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Plum uses ground game to topple Norwin, improve to 4-0 |

Plum uses ground game to topple Norwin, improve to 4-0

Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Plum lineman Christopher Erfort celebrates a fumble recovery against Norwin that led to a Plum field goal in the second quarter at Plum High School on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.
Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Plum punt returner Patrick Crossey runs past Norwin's Jonathan LoChiatto in the second quarter Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, at Plum.
Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Plum running back Kevin Brown runs for a 19-yard gain against Norwin in the first quarter Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, at Plum.
Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Norwin's Nick Amendola stiff arms a Plum defender in the first quarter at Plum High School on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.
Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Norwin's Peyton Deri gains a first down against Plum in the first quarter at Plum High School on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.

Plum used a patient offense and an aggressive defense to win its fourth game in as many outings Friday night at Mustangs Stadium.

Two touchdown tosses from sophomore Corey Thomas and four field goals from kicker Jake Chapla led to a 33-0 victory over Norwin in Quad East Conference action.

Besides the 4-0 start, Plum is 3-0 in the conference, while Norwin slipped to 2-2 (1-2).

The Mustangs had a 10-0 advantage at the half, but Norwin’s Remington Lojas recovered a Plum fumble at the Mustangs 23-yard line and looked to be in business.

But on the following play, Nick Coxon intercepted a Nick Amendola pass at the Mustangs 3.

Coxon slipped after picking off the pass but stayed upright on the following play, going up the middle on a slight delay and outracing the Knights secondary for a 97-yard scoring run that put Plum in command.

“We were doing OK until that 97-yard run,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “That hurt us in that situation coming out for the second half. But give them credit. They’re 4-0 for a reason.”

For much of the night, Plum’s defense set the tone, as Norwin constantly was pinned back in its own territory.

In the first half, the Knights started four drives from their 20 and another from their 1 after a strategically placed punt by Chapla.

“I think Coach Morgan does a great job, and he has an identity,” Brozeski said. “They have a tough defense, a strong offensive line and running game, and that’s their identity. They pretty much say here’s what we’re going to do, come over and stop us.”

Norwin had averaged 33 points entering Friday.

“The key to the whole season so far is how our defense is playing,” Plum coach Matt Morgan said.

“After Week 1, we made adjustments, and since then, the kids have been teeing off. We play a very aggressive defense. We live and die by that, and it’s worked, so far.”

Thomas threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Austin Teeter in the second quarter and a 19-yarder to Rahmon Hart with 6:34 left in the third period.

“I like how the seniors are letting me lead the team,” Thomas said. “I’m so excited about being 4-0. We have some great athletes.”

Chapla cemented his status as one of the state’s top kickers by booting field goals of 25, 46, 32 and 44 yards.

“This is probably the most depth Plum’s had, ever, I bet,” Morgan said. “Especially in the backfield. If one guy’s not running the ball well, we’ve got four other guys drooling to get the ball.”

Coxon had eight carries for 130 yards, and Kevin Brown picked off two Norwin passes.

Amendola led the Knights with 66 rushing yards on 15 carries.

Plum now leads 8-6 in the all-time series against Norwin that dates to 1953.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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