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    Saturday, September 24, 2022

    No. 4 NFA gets off to an explosive start

    Norwich - Senior safety C.J. Jarmon recovered two fumbles for Norwich Free Academy on Saturday.

    He returned both for touchdowns over a span of just three Montville offensive plays.

    The Wildcats' defense did all it could to pound Montville into submission. It recovered four fumbles, had two sacks and an interception on the way to a resounding 48-21 victory over the Indians in their season debut.

    "Coach (Jemal Davis) all week has been telling us that we have to set the tempo and have to be quicker to the ball," senior defensive end Tuzar Skipper said. "During our scrimmage with Hall, he said that our defense wasn't setting up properly and needed to be faster. That's what we worked on all week."

    So there you go, Montville. Blame Hall.

    "They're an excellent football team," Montville coach Tanner Grove said.

    "They have a bunch of talented kids and they know it, which makes it that much tougher."

    NFA, ranked fourth in The Day's Top 10 state coaches' poll, led 30-0 after the first quarter.

    Davis began having his players take knees on extra points when they went ahead 36-0. That began over a minute into the second quarter.

    The Wildcats throttled ahead 42-0 with over 10 minutes left in the first half. Davis then began to substitute liberally.

    Montville had 33 yards on 21 offensive plays when Davis began score management.

    Speed kills, even when it's on defense.

    "We moved some guys over to the defensive side," Davis said, "When it seemed like they had a play, we were able to close in and make (defensive) plays."

    Davis moved five offensive players over to defense to fill four spots: junior Khaleed Exum-Strong (linebacker), Boston College-bound senior Marcus Outlow (cornerback), senior Ramel Williams (cornerback), and junior Marc D'Elia and sophomore Noah Brown, the latter two which alternate on the defensive line.

    "Our depth compared to last year is not where we want it to be yet," Davis said. "We're getting there. Guys are developing. We have to make sure that we have the best guys on the field."

    Jarmon was also moved inside from cornerback to strong safety and it paid instant dividends.

    Jarmon returned a fumble 51 yards to give NFA a 30-0 lead with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.

    Two plays later, linebacker Kyle Urbinati sacked Montville quarterback Tyler Quidgeon and forced a fumble.

    Jarmon scooped up the ball and returned it 26 yards to push NFA's lead to 36-0.

    "Right place, right time," Jarmon said. "We (the defense) played fast. We played hard. We fly to the ball."

    Exum-Strong ran six times for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Outlow had seven carries for 16 yards and two scores.

    Quidgeon threw a 3-yard touchdown to Andrew Petherick late in the first half for Montville.

    Petherick, a freshman, ran for touchdowns of 41 and 11 yards in the second half.

    Indians senior co-captain Anthony Wilkens suffered what Grove called a head injury late in the first half.


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