Norwin bounces back, pulls away from Altoona

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Friday, September 1, 2017 | 11:06 PM


Norwin was blanked in its opener and came back a week later to register a shutout of its own.

Only this time, the outcome resulted in a comfortable margin.

Jack Salopek passed for 180 yards and two touchdowns and Tevin Thrift rushed for 134 yards, and another score as Norwin pulled away from Altoona in the second half Friday night to open its Class 6A Southeastern Conference schedule with a 24-0 victory over the visiting Mountain Lions.

“I'm happy with the way our guys bounced back tonight,” Norwin coach Dave Brozeski said. “You always wonder how they'll react after having a game like they had last week.”

Norwin's offense sputtered at times in the opener Aug. 25, and the Knights wound up with a 3-0 loss to Penn-Trafford.

It looked to be a similar scenario against Altoona after Norwin (1-1, 1-0) managed only a 7-0 lead at halftime.

“Altoona battled,” Brozeski said. “They came to play, but we were able to hold them off and maybe wear them down a little there in the second half.”

Said Altoona coach Nick Felus: “Our defense was out there probably a little longer than it should have been, and our guys just couldn't sustain it for four quarters. But the effort is there.”

Altoona (1-1, 0-1) opened the season with a 35-34 victory at home against Allderdice.

The Mountain Lions offense went in the opposite direction against Norwin, failing to generate any points, despite sustaining several long drives that came up empty.

“We ran 35 plays in the first half,” Felus said.

Salopek, a sophomore who completed 13 of 22 attempts, fired touchdown passes of 32 yards to William Kerston in the second quarter to give Norwin its slim halftime lead and 9 yards to Ezekiel Houser in the third quarter.

With Norwin leading 17-0, Thrift put the game out of reach with a 58-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

“We were able to maintain some good field position, and that really helped us,” Brozeski said. “The long (41-yard) pass to Gage Luptak in the third was a great play for us. We didn't score on that drive, but it kept it going and ate some of the clock.”

Carter Breen, who missed the first half to compete with the Norwin soccer team earlier in the day, arrived in time to kick a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter.

The game started with both teams trading fumble recoveries, Norwin taking over after Altoona lost the ball on the first play and Altoona avoiding an early deficit several plays later when Norwin fumbled in the Mountain Lions end zone.

Quarterback Braeden Burchfield led Altoona with 112 yards passing on 16 of 32 completions.

Dave Mackall is a freelance writer.

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