Norwin notebook: Passing game starting to click for Knights

Saturday, September 16, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Mike Brown expected Norwin’s passing offense to flourish once the quarterback and receivers established their timing.

“That was missing in the first couple games,” the Knights’ first-year coach said. “It’s a new system, and there is a level of understanding that comes with it. Our guys are making plays.”

In Week 2, sophomore quarterback Tristyn Tavares completed 11 of 20 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns — career numbers — as Norwin earned its first win under Brown, 33-18 over Fox Chapel.

Sophomore Jake Knight had a career game with four receptions for 165 yards, including TD catches of 55 and 95 yards.

Seniors Jackson Pons and Luke Denny also had scoring grabs with Pons’ going for 52 yards.

Brown ran an up-tempo, no-huddle offense at Hempfield. While the scheme is similar at Norwin, the Knights are more spread out.

“We used two tight ends a lot at Hempfield and pounded the ball,” Brown said. “What people didn’t see (against Fox Chapel) was the 13- and 17-yard scrambles by Tristyn that made something happen.”

Brown said enthusiasm is up around the program. He said varsity players are showing up to junior varsity games on Saturdays.

The team also is in the habit of running Sunday practices.

“They’re supporting each other,” Brown said. “It’s nice to see. They want to be here.”

Tennis wins

Norwin’s girls tennis team eked out a 3-2 victory over cross-county rival Hempfield.

Mary Mahoney won her match at third singles, 6-4, 6-1, and the Knights swept the doubles matches with wins from Abby Zula and Cassandra Halaszynski (6-2, 6-2), and Hope Kenney and Taylor Miller (6-0, 6-0).

Aftanas coaching

Doug Aftanas, a former baseball head coach, has joined the staff of the Butler BlueSox of the summer collegiate Rust Belt League.

Aftanas has a lengthy resume. He was an assistant at Waynesboro from 1993-96 before becoming a WPIAL head coach at Norwin (1999-2003) and Valley (2015-16). He also coachd Arnold Legion in 2005 and Valle Legion from 2014-16.

Zappone to UPG

Norwin soccer player Rick Zappone committed to play at Pitt-Greensburg. The senior center back is a co-captain for the Knights.

Kendro coaching

Former Norwin standout Lexy Kendro has joined the coaching ranks.

A Division I midfielder who was a three-year starter at Duquesne before playing a graduate season at The Citadel, Kendro is leading the Mt. Pleasant junior high girls team.

She is a health and physical education teacher in the district.

Kendro played on Norwin’s 2017 PIAA championship team.

Yacamelli inducted

Former Norwin football standout Kerry Yacamelli was inducted into the IUP Athletics Hall of Fame.

Yacamelli was an offensive lineman in the early 1990s and helped open holes for Michael Mann, IUP’s all-time leading rusher with 4,805 yards (52 touchdowns).

Yacamelli was an All-PSAC player in 1994.

IUP was 43-6-1 during his time in Indiana.

He teaches math at Gateway.

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


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