ONEONTA — Five first-half turnovers doomed Oneonta as the Yellowjackets dropped their homecoming game to rival Norwich, 48-0, Saturday, Oct. 5.
OHS looked to start with a defensive stop, forcing a third and more than 10 on Norwich’s opening drive, but quarterback Griffin Mills scrambled for the first down. The Purple Tornado went on to score on the drive as David Berger reached the end zone from nine yards, setting the tone for most of the first half.
“We were holding them, it was third and long, and I thought we were going to make them punt,” Mushtare said. “The quarterback, who’s an excellent athlete, squirted up the sideline and got the first down, then they rattled off two or three plays in a row and just deflated us”
Oneonta’s problems compounded in its first possession as quarterback Graham Wooden’s long pass to the far sideline was intercepted. Norwich converted the turnover to seven points with a one-yard run from Mills, and a second interception on the next possession turned into an 15-yard pass for Mills and a 21-0 Norwich lead.
Constant Norwich pressure in the face of Wooden continued to cause problems for Oneonta later in the period. The Yellowjackets third possession produced a play with multiple open receivers downfield, but the Norwich rush made Wooden’s throw fall well short for a third interception.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start, we had some turnovers that led to some early scores,” Mushtare said. “We are a much better team when good things happen to us early and we can keep our spirits up. That didn’t happen for us today.”
The Purple Tornado made it 28-0 before the Yellowjackets picked up their first fresh set of downs with 2:30 left in the period. The drive ended on downs, and Norwich made it 34-0 49 seconds into the second quarter.
A fourth interception produced another touchdown for Norwich, and a fifth ended Oneonta’s best drive of the first half with less than a minute to play. The Purple Tornado took a knee with 17 seconds left to take a 41-point lead into halftime.
“Graham is an excellent athlete and an excellent competitor,” Mushtare said. “He didn’t quit today, he just kept chugging along. He’s not one that’s going to quit, and he will be back Monday ready to go.”
The Oneonta offense saw more success with a focus on the ground game in the second half, but points eluded the Yellowjackets as a fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter ended a drive deep into Norwich territory. Mills ran up the middle for a 48-yard score with 7:13 left in the third for the only points of the second half.
Wooden finished 11-21 through the air for 85 yards and five interceptions. Dalton Wells led the receivers, catching six passes for 54 yards. Aidan Breakey caught three passes for 13 yards, Lucas Breakey pulled in two throws for 14 yards and Kevin Ignacio caught one pass for 10 yards.
Wells also led the Yellowjackets on the ground, rushing 15 times for 48 yards. Wooden totaled 40 yards on 11 attempts.
Lucas Breakey led the Oneonta defense with five solo tackles and six assists.
“It was homecoming, it was Norwich, which is always the rivalry. I thought practice at the end of the week was good, and we had a pep rally on Friday,” Mushtare said. “But this is a resilient crew and they tend to come in on Monday ready to go.”
The Yellowjackets (1-4) host Waverly at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.
Norwich 48, Oneonta 0
Norwich ….. 28 13 7 0 - 48
Harpursville/Afton ….. 0 0 0 0 - 0
N — David Berger 9 run (Matt Giglio kick); N — Griffin Mills 1 run (Matt Giglio kick); Mills 15 pass (Matt Giglio kick); N — Evan Sylstra 1 run (Matt Giglio kick).
N — David Berger 2 run (kick no good); N — J.T. Vinal 2 reception from Griffin Mills (Matt Giglio kick).
N — Griffin Mills 48 run (Matt Giglio kick).
Oneonta rushing: Dalton Wells 15-48; Graham Wooden 11-40; Nate DeGraaf 2-14; Kevin Ignacio 1-6; Carter Neer 3-5; Aidan Breakey 1-0; Jack Caruso 1-(-4).
Oneonta passing: Graham Wooden 11-21, 85 yards, 5 int; Carter Neer 1-3, 6 yards.
Oneonta receiving: Dalton Wells 6-54; Aidan Breakey 3-13; Lucas Breakey 2-14; Kevin Ignacio 1-10.
Norwich rushing: Griffin Mills 11-112, 2 TD; David Berger 7-39, 2 TD; Cameron Byrne 3-13; Nik Barber 4-10; Seth Wessels 2-9; Evan Sylstra 3-4, TD; Brayden Supensky 1-0; Carson Maynard 2-(-4).
Norwich passing: Griffin Mills 7-10, 124 yards, 2 TD; Carson Maynard 1-2, 16 yards.
Norwich receiving: J.T. Vinal 3-52, TD; Carson Thornton 2-46; Brayden Supensky 1-16; Carson Maynard 1-15; Cameron Byrne 1-11.