When two offenses that scored a combined 54 points last week meet on the football field, one would expect fireworks to ensue.
But that was not the case, as Penn Hills (2-0) overcame a slow start and numerous penalties to defeat Norwin (0-2) 27-0 in a slug-match. Pitt-committed quarterback Julian Dugger put the team on his back, picking up one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and multiple 10+ yard rushing plays to lead the Indians to victory.
On defense, Penn Hills defensive back Cameron Thomas stepped up for a big game, picking up a field goal block and a fumble recover to help secure the Indian victory.
Norwin began the game with a strong drive, methodically moving down field deep into Penn Hills territory. Knights sophomore quarterback Tristyn Taveres was key in the drive, utilizing both his arm and legs to push Norwin downfield to the 19 yard line. But the drive did not end in Norwin’s favor, as the Indians managed to force a fumble on fourth down to end the Knights fast-paced first drive.
But the Indians did not fare much better on their first go. A bad snap deep in Penn Hills territory greatly cost the Indians. Even though Dugger recovered the fumble, Norwin linebacker Jacob Page was all over him, earning the sack and forcing the Indians back to the four yard line.
Both defenses controlled the game throughout the early minutes of action. Penn Hills utilized its momentum from its big first-drive turnover, putting fierce pressure on Taveres and the Knights offense. Meanwhile, Norwin continuously stymied Dugger and the Indians. Both teams remained scoreless after the first quarter.
But it was not to last. Dugger and the Indians began to find their groove early in the second quarter, as the Pitt-committed quarterback began to unload downfield. Dugger finished off the drive with a bang, as he scrambled to the right, dodging defenders before finding wide receiver Darrell Banks in the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown.
Flags cost the Indians following their opening touchdown. A holding call cost the Indians a touchdown on a promising drive with just over six minutes remaining in the first-half. Following the overturned touchdown, the Indians continued to make sloppy mistakes, which ultimately pushed Penn Hills back to the 36-yard line.
Dugger finally rallied the Indians down in the waning moments of the first half. With his team struggling, the Pitt-commit stepped up, ripping off a 32-yard run to put the Indians at the four yard line. Running back Amir Keys finished off the drive with a four yard touchdown to put the Indians up 14-0.
Norwin had little answer for Penn Hills late touchdown, as the Indians headed to the locker room holding the 14-0 lead.
But the Knights were not prepared to go down without a fight. Norwin running back Christain Shogan stepped up for Norwin, pushing through defenders to gain several yards on a series of runs. But the drive ended poorly for the Knights, as the drive stalled and the Indians forced a field goal. To make matters worse, Thomas blocked the field goal, robbing three points from the Knights.
The Knights did not fare much better, however. Penalties continued to prove costly for Penn Hills, as they surpassed 20 penalties for the game.
Nonetheless, Penn Hills kept pushing to keep the game out of reach. Thomas added to his already impressive performance with a fumble recovery, which gave the Indians great field possession towards the end of the half. Penn Hills finally managed to clean up their game and find success with the running attack. Keys finished the drive, finding the back of the end zone for a second time to put Penn Hills up 21-0 at the end of the third quarter.
Norwin continued to attempt a comeback, but the game was already decided. Dugger capped off the Indians 27-0 win with a long rushing touchdown.
Penn Hills will look to move to 3-0 next week against Pine Richland. Meanwhile, Norwin will hope to earn its first win next week against Fox Chapel.