Norwood pressure too much
NORWOOD - Natick star quarterback Troy Flutie - son of Darren and nephew of Doug Flutie - stepped onto Murray Field in Norwood yesterday looking to give the Red and Blue a 2-0 start. But the Mustangs made it clear right away they would pay no respect to lineage. From the first snap Norwood’s defensive line made itself at home in the Natick backfield, dialing up pressure on Flutie and getting the big stops when needed in a 27-14 win.
It was Norwood’s first win over Natick since 2005. “It’s huge,’’ Norwood coach John Sarianides said of the win. “It’s special for this program because they’re a rival of ours.’’
Norwood’s defense stifled Natick, forcing bad throws from Flutie and keeping the Red and Blue largely in their end of the field. Natick’s first drive ended as linebacker Sam Anderson forced Flutie to roll to his right and make a weak throw intercepted by Jon Ciavattone.
“We kind of felt that if we let [Flutie] hang back there, he’s too good of an athlete,’’ Sarianides said. “Our biggest concern was plastering those receivers, covering down on them and making sure that we don’t let Flutie get out of the pocket and extend plays. We felt edge pressure was the way to do that.’’
The Mustangs’ offense found a rhythm early in the first quarter, gaining big chunks on the ground from Kenneth Stokes and Joe Ciavattone. Quarterback Tommy Munro opened the scoring on the first drive with six minutes gone in the first, pounding the ball in from the 1.
Munro played more like a running back than a quarterback, finishing with 11 rushes for 122 yards and two touchdowns while only throwing three times.
“When things started to break down if I could see a hole I would just hit it,’’ Munro said. “Our line kept going and our receivers were blocking downfield. That’s why I was able to have success.’’
After a three-and-out, the Mustangs got the ball back at the Natick 31, and it took only two minutes to strike again when Andrew Alty took a quick pitch around the right side for an 11-yard score. Norwood faked the extra point and Kenny Michael found tight end Sam Anderson for the 2-point conversion to extend the lead to 14-0.
It was Norwood’s unstoppable pass rush that kept Natick from a comeback. Defensive end Gus Martin had Flutie scrambling all afternoon. Sam Anderson, Kenneth Stokes, and Joe Ciavattone finished with one sack each.
“ “He’s an anchor for us,’’ Sarianides said of Martin. “We pride ourselves on setting the edge and with him and Jon Ciavattone we do a good job of that.’’
After a 22-yard touchdown pass from Munro to T.J. George put Norwood up, 21-0, Flutie marched the Red and Blue 65 yards - with the help of a 23-yard run by Nick Lee- and connected with Brian Dunlap for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 14. Munro answered less than two minutes later with a 58-yard TD run to put Norwood up, 27-7.
“He’s a warrior,’’ Sarianides said. “He’s a gamer. He’s tough, he takes shots, he gets back up and runs the next play. He’s the leader of our offense and he stepped it up big time today.’’
Natick and Norwood exchanged three-and-outs to start the second half, but on Norwood’s second drive Munro was intercepted by John Delmonaco at the Natick 2. Flutie found a rhythm in the air and running room to get the Red and Blue inside the Norwood 10, then punched the ball in from 6 yards out.