Comeback win gives Norwin football a boost in confidence

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Saturday, September 23, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Norwin football coach Mike Brown made a special moment out of his team’s first home win of the season, giving the game ball to his father and assistant coach, Bill Brown, for a birthday present on the Saturday after the victory.

It was another reason to celebrate for the Knights, who surprised Plum, 30-23, with a furious fourth-quarter comeback.

It was arguably the most exciting finish in the WPIAL in Week 3 and a huge way to open Big East Conference play for Norwin.

Underdogs. On the road. Why worry?

Quarterback Tristyn Tavares said there wasn’t a lot of talking when Norwin fell behind by 16 points early in the fourth.

No, the Knights let their actions speak loudest and saved their best for last in a statement win.

“We just knew as a team the game wasn’t over,” the sophomore said.

Norwin heaped on 23 points in the fourth on the way to a thrilling, come-from-behind victory to move to 2-2 on the season. The Knights were 1-9 last year.

Plum took a 23-7 lead early in the fourth before the Knights rumbled to life.

“The thing I think we did best to get the win was never giving up,” Tavares said. “We started off slow, but after halftime, we switched to another gear and played together.”

Tavares completed 11 of 23 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, both to Luke Denny, who hauled in three grabs for 127 yards.

His 62-yard scoring catch was the go-ahead score.

Just before that, Tavares scored on a 4-yard run and Jackson Pons ran in the two-point conversion to make it 23-15.

“The fact the team didn’t give up and kept fighting is a testament to our team,” Mike Brown said. “I’m just really proud of our team and to be a Norwin Knight.”

Norwin had shown life in a 24-21 loss to Upper St. Clair in the opener, and while a 27-0 loss to then-No. 1 Penn Hills followed, the Knights powered past Fox Chapel, 33-18.

The Knights hadn’t won two in a row since 2021.

“It showed the community what the program has become,” Tavares said.

Brown hoped the momentum continued as the jaws of conference play opened and the Knights moved ahead cautiously.

“We made a handful of mistakes but believed in one another,” the coach said, “and that’s one of the staples of our program.”

The running game also showed positive signs. Jake Sincak had a 30-yard touchdown run, and Christian Shogun ran for 47 yards.

Pons was limited to one catch, but the Miami (Ohio) safety recruit had an interception. Jake Page and Adam Pham had a team-leading nine tackles, while Pons made eight stops.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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