Northfield, VT --- Norwich sophomore kicker Wes Medeiros (Gilford, NH) made a 22-yard field goal with five seconds left in the game to clinch a 10-7 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Saturday afternoon on Sabine Field at Haynes Family Stadium.
Medeiros capped off an impressive 15-play, 70-yard drive that ate up 6:57 of clock and gave the Cadets (2-1, 0-0 ECFC) their second straight victory by a 10-7 final score.
Norwich started the eventual game-winning drive at its own 25-yard line after the NU defense forced WPI's offense into a three and out, and junior Sam Chaves (Alfred, ME) returned a Vinny Tavernelli (Plymouth, MA) punt eight yards.
Senior quarterback Keyen Foley (Felton, CA) went to work from there, opening up the drive with a nine-yard completion to senior wide receiver Dan Jamieson (Morris Plains, NJ). Senior running back Al Georgio (East Greenwich, RI) picked up the first down on the next play with a six-yard rush.
Norwich converted three big plays on third down to keep the drive rolling, starting with Foley hooking up with Pierre Noel (Manchester, NH) for a 16 yard pass on third and seven at the NU 43. Foley completed a 12-yard pass to Robert Rapoza (Mansfield, MA) on the next third down from the WPI 36 to move the chains again. Georgio picked up the final first down on a six-yard rush on third and four form the WPI 18 to put the ball well within Medeiros' range.
After losing six yards on its first play from the WPI 12, Georgio ran for three and seven yards to setup Medeiros' game-winning heroics.
Norwich kicked off with five seconds left but WPI's Sean Murphy (Mattapoisett, MA) was stripped on the return by Tyler Bates (Marblehead, MA) and recovered by Cody Lindell (Cranston, RI) to seal the victory. Bates' forced fumble was his second in as many games on special teams.
WPI (1-2, 0-0 Liberty League) opened the scoring with 14:55 left in the second quarter when Dan Eckler (Stoughton, MA) found Joe Igoe (Framingham, MA) for an 18-yard touchdown pass to put the Engineers up 7-0 following a successful PAT from Blaine Bursey (Middleburg, FL).
Norwich answered right back though, scoring on its ensuing possession when Foley found Georgio on a screen pass that he took all the way to the end zone for 75 yards for the Cadets' first score of the game. Medeiros added the point after to knot the score up at 7-7 with 13:29 left in the second quarter.
Neither side was able to muster much on offense the rest of the way. WPI had a chance to take the lead five minutes into the fourth quarter when the Engineers marched 68 yards on 11 plays in a little less than six minutes to set up a 22-yard field goal attempt for Bursey. Bursey pulled the kick just wide left though to keep the game tied at 7-7.
For the third straight week the NU defense was solid, limiting WPI to 255 yards. Senior captain linebacker Addison Nye (Hookset, NH) led the way with six solo tackles, two of them for losses. Senior defensive back Nael Pierre-Louis (Cumberland, RI) added six tackles and a pass breakup to continue his impressive season.
Senior linebackers Jimmy Labell (Stanhope, NJ) and Matt LaFevre (Milford, NJ) each had five solo tackles and one assist as well to round out the Cadets' defensive leaders.
Georgio totaled 151 yards with 58 yards and the ground and 93 more yards receiving to lead the Cadets' offense. Foley added 36 more yards on the ground and finished 11-for-22 for 192 yards through the air and a touchdown. Jamieson had four catches for 56 yards.
WPI's Eckler went 15-for-25 for 152 yards passing with a touchdown. Trey Pierce (Charleston, SC) had 19 carries for 43 yards to lead the Engineers' rushing attack.
Eric Lacroix (Metheun, MA) led WPI with eight tackles, while Brian Murtagh (Wayland, MA) had seven tackles with an interception and one tackle for loss. The Engineers also sacked Foley five times with Robert Harasimowicz (Gardner, MA) notching two.
Tavernelli averaged 43.6 on eight punts and for the third time this year and 22nd time in 23 career games, outpunted his opponent.
Norwich heads into its bye week next week on a two-game winning streak as it wrapped up non-conference play for the season.
The Cadets will open their Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) schedule on Oct. 4 at Husson. WPI heads to RPI for the annual Transit Trophy game the same day. Kickoff for the Liberty League opener is slated for 7pm.
Release Courtesy Norwich Sports Information