OSSIAN – Norwell senior receiver Nathan Shelton might have the best take on the Knights' record after they ended a two-year losing streak Friday night.
“It's feels good to win and it's a lot better since it's sectional,” Shelton said. “Everybody starts out 0-0 in the sectionals. It's nice to be 1-0 instead of whatever our record would be.”
Norwell's 22-0 win over Logansport in the first round of the Class 4A sectional on Friday night at Norwell ended a long, long drought.
The Knights (1-9) hadn't won on the field since beating DeKalb on Oct. 1, 2010, a stretch of 22 games. Norwell was awarded a forfeit win over DeKalb last season when DeKalb used an ineligible player.
“These kids have struggled for two years and it's the same group we've had,” Norwell coach Jeff Miller said. “Boy, they've been fighting hard. We haven't had that negative vibe in practice. They're still coming out, still having fun. It was nice to see their faces after this ballgame.”
Norwell got on the board first in the second quarter with a 15-play, 95-yard drive, capped by a 10-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Piercen Harnish. After a blocked extra point, Norwell led 6-0. Near the end of the second quarter, Norwell defensive back Grahm Smith broke up a would-be fourth-down touchdown pass.
“We tried to keep our mindset positive and stay focused in the locker room at halftime,” Norwell senior tight end Cale Schumm said. “We didn't want to come out slow and overlook them in the second half.”
The Knights stretched that 6-0 halftime lead to 14-0 on their first possession in the third quarter, a 13-play, 60-yard drive with Harnish scoring on a three-yard run. William Gerber hit Shelton on a two-point conversion pass to make it 14-0.
The Knights defense continued to bottle up Logansport's offense, allowing only six first downs in the game and 141 total yards.
Norwell's final score came in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard Harnish pass to sophomore wide receiver Reggie Hayes. Harnish then hit Gerber for the two-point conversion and a 22-0 lead.
Harnish, the younger brother of Indianapolis Colts rookie Chandler Harnish, finished 9 of 15 passing for 96 yards and rushed for 67 yards. Gerber rushed for 61 yards. Schumm caught four passes for 55 yards.
Norwell will play at Northeast Hoosier Conference rival New Haven in the second round next Friday.
The 22 points were the most Norwell had scored all season. The Knights produced 17 first downs and 278 yards in offense. The win was Norwell's first post-season win since 2007.
“From the get-go, we knew we could win it,” Shelton said. “We had the mindset that we could get the job done.”