Note: The following is a small excerpt of the Norwich football preview that will appear in our fall sports supplement on Thursday.
NORWICH – John Martinson did not have the start to his varsity coaching career that he expected. He coached over two decades for the Tornado as an assistant coach, and in his first three games as the head coach, his team did not play poorly, yet lost all three.
Opening division play against Windsor in the fourth contest could have extended the losing woes. If not for clutch defensive play late in the game by Casey Edwards and Kegan Levesque, the Tornado may have fell to 0-4, and the ensuing contests – all wins – may not have mattered.
“Last year was a rough start,” Martinson said. “A lot of guys playing under me were learning as I was learning. We turned it over in the first game, we had opportunities to put the ball in the endzone and close the deal in the second game, and in the third game against Johnson City…that team was the class of the section. I think the players back this year learned a lesson last year that every game is important, but each game is also a growing process.”
The momentum from that Windsor victory carried over to an unbeaten record in division play and a five-game winning streak in qualifying for the Section IV, Class B playoffs. Martinson would be more than happy if that scenario played out again.
“If you told me I would go 4-0 in the division this year, I’d be a happy coach,” the NHS coach said. “No doubt, winning the division is our first goal, then the section, and ultimately states. These guys have set those goals, and in order to to that, we have to play talented teams.”