The Greenwich High School football team stood in stunned silence on the sidelines as the final seconds ticked away. It had lost to Norwalk High School for the first time in 30 years. A stingy Norwalk defense, poor execution in the red zone, and eight crucial penalties doomed the Cardinals in a forgettable 19-7 season-opening loss.
"We're a horrible football team right now, to be honest with you," Greenwich head coach Rich Albonizo said. "We can't have all these penalties. We're just not disciplined."
Norwalk linebackers caused trouble for Greenwich all night as quarterback Liam O'Neil was sacked four times. Dave Klein stripped O'Neil of the ball and ran for a 75-yard touchdown. Greenwich seemed to right the ship when it answered with an impressive drive, ending in a 1-yard touchdown run by Ryan Kelly, making it 7-6. That would be the last time Greenwich would convert in the red zone, however, as it was stopped cold twice and forced out by penalties two other times.
Norwalk added a touchdown just before halftime to make it 12-7. Greenwich dominated time of possession in the second half but could not gain any significant yardage. Greenwich had its best chance to retake the lead in the third quarter, getting to the Norwalk 18-yard line. Holding penalties on two consecutive plays pushed the Cardinals back 20 yards and killed any chance of scoring. The Norwalk defense also stopped Greenwich on two crucial fourth-down plays. Norwalk converted on a fourth down of its own, however, setting up a backbreaking touchdown run from Klein.
"Norwalk did a great job stopping us on those fourth downs," Albonizo said. "We have to work on ourselves as football players and be better at what we do."
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