The game sets up a state title tilt between Dayspring Christian and Merino. These two teams have played for the last two state titles, each winning one.
Saturday’s game was a back-and-forth struggle in the first half with Dayspring Christian getting on the scoreboard in the middle of quarter one, after both teams traded early turnovers trying to deal with the nerves of such a big game.
Norwood struck back with big plays in the passing game by Seth Gabardi and Zach Andrews and tough running by Jarren Ragsdale and Jordan Nielson. A touchdown late in the first quarter left the Mavs behind 7-6, with a missed extra point. The lead that Dayspring had after one quarter was short lived as the Mavs again struck on a big play with a long touchdown run by Andrews. That coupled with the missed two-point conversion brought the Mavericks into the lead at 12-7.
Unfortunately for the Norwood squad, that would be their last lead of the game, as the last four minutes of the first half led to a long touchdown drive by the Eagles.
At half the score stood at 14-12 in favor of Dayspring Christian. With halftime adjustments made and the reemergence of the regular starter for Dayspring at Quarterback, the Eagles proved to be too much offense for the Mavs in the second half. Several big plays that typically were not given up by a stingy Mavericks defense accounted for two long touchdown drives in each of the last two quarters to account for the final score of 42-12 in favor of the Eagles.
Final score aside, Coach Tom LaFramboise has done a remarkable job of changing the culture around Norwood football. They are a tough, physical, hard-nosed football team that was consistently outweighed by the teams they played by substantial margins, and simply out-execute and out-work the teams that they play against. Coach LaFramboise has a terrific supporting cast of coaches in Jack Briar, Bobby Harris, Brandon Alexander and Brandon Morris who work tirelessly to help the players with technique and schemes. There is also a tremendous shout out to Keith Williams, Ken Watt, Mike Rummel, Clint Colson, Carl Snow and all of the numerous coaches who have run a terrific Pee-Wee football program for the last 10 years and middle school program at Norwood who also went undefeated this season. From top to bottom, Coach LaFramboise has built a strong staff and will be a force in class A Eight-Man Football for many years to come. Congratulations to the Mavericks on a season to remember.