Fenwick High School’s season was not expected to end like this. Not after knocking off Alter and CJ in back-to-back games for the first time in program history as part of a five-game winning streak that boosted the Falcons to their first appearance in the playoffs since 2004.
Widely viewed as an under-seeded favorite, the No. 6 Falcons were outplayed by No. 3 Norwood on Friday night. The Indians earned a 21-14 victory to move on in the Division IV playoffs.
“We knew that they weren’t going to come in here and lay down, that was irrelevant,” Falcons head coach Fred Cranford said. “It’s unpredictable at this time — anyone can lose.”
A few minutes into the tilt, it looked like Fenwick was going to put on yet another offensive show. The Falcons averaged 37.3 points and over 400 yards of offense per game in the regular season, and scored the game’s first touchdown less than four minutes after kickoff. Sophomore running back Dallas Hall capped a seven-play, 67-yard drive with a 6-yard plunge.
Each play in that drive resulted in positive yards. After that, though, the Falcons reached the red zone just one more time before the fourth quarter, only to go backward on that possession and ultimately punt.
While Fenwick’s offense struggled to sustain drives, Norwood found some rhythm as the first half wore on. The Indians tied the game late in the first quarter. At halftime, the Falcons had managed to outgain the Indians 171-145, mostly thanks to their run defense, which held Norwood to 17 rushing yards.
Coming out of the break, Norwood found success by essentially abandoning the run. On the opening drive of the second half, Indians quarterback Andrew Conover threw six times and completed four passes for 70 yards. The fourth reception on that drive was a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jared Peters, which gave the Indians the lead.
After three possessions that resulted in an interception, a three-and-out, and a fumble, Fenwick fell down by another score. Norwood held the ball for over four minutes to start the fourth quarter and Robert Boston capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Falcons junior running back Frank Catrine, who rushed for over 80 yards and had a few dazzling kick returns, gave Fenwick some life with a 1-yard score with 3:14 to go. That life was short-lived, though, as despite having two more possessions before the game ended, the Falcons couldn’t complete the comeback.
Cranford praised his seniors, who have finished with better records each season of their careers.
“They’ve climbed the ladder; they finished Week 11,” Cranford said.