AMBOY – There was a Stormin’ Norman warning on Friday night at The Harbor.
Senior running back Austin Norman made the most of his last home appearance in an Amboy-LaMoille uniform, to the tune of 19 rushes for 238 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Clippers to a 25-8 win over Milledgeville.
It was not only the first win this season for Amboy-LaMoille (1-7, 1-4 NUIC South), but it sent longtime head coach Gary Jones out a winner in his final home game. Jones will not return to the sideline after nearly five decades as an assistant and head coach.
“I think everybody was feeling it tonight,” Norman said. “It was Coach’s last game at home. We were wanting that ‘dub’ [W]. We knew we were coming into an easier part of our schedule than the past. Everybody was feeling it, really.”
When asked about winning his last home game, Jones thought about his players.
“I’m happy for the seniors,” he said. “This is the one they’re going to remember. I’ve been here for a lot of games, and it’s nice to win your last one at home, but I’m really happy for our seniors. I’m happy for the whole football team, to get this first win.”
Norman got Amboy-LaMoille on the board on the team’s third offensive play, on a 30-yard run up the middle. A reverse on the opening kickoff put the Clippers in business on the Milledgeville 35, and they cashed it in quickly.
Norman’s second touchdown was a 90-yarder midway through the second quarter. He broke clean through the Missiles defense, and outraced the secondary to the house.
Norman added TD runs of 34 and 23 yards in the third quarter to up the Clippers’ lead to 25-0. He sat out much of the fourth quarter.
“We knew coming in Norman was a physical runner, and we just didn’t have an answer for him,” Milledgeville coach Jason Wroble said. “We prepped all week for him. We also prepped for No. 3 [Marcus Winn], and did a nice job keeping him quiet, but Norman had a heck of a night. He’s a good football player.”
Milledgeville averted a shutout with a touchdown against the Amboy-LaMoille reserves with :43.6 to play. Marcus McKenna finished off a nine-play, 77-yard march with a 5-yard TD run.
The Missiles (1-7, 1-5) had a chance to get back into the game on the opening possession of the third quarter, down just 13-0. A 48-yard run by Ryan Kendall got Milledgeville down to the Amboy-LaMoille 25, but two runs and two incompletions netted just 2 yards.
The Missiles punted seven times, were intercepted once, and turned the ball over on downs twice before scoring late.
“I felt like we didn’t execute very well,” Wroble said. “We had a lot of silly penalties that killed us. It seemed like the whole first half we played inside our own 25. It felt like we were sleep-walking a little bit. It just wasn’t a good showing. Most of the season we’ve given pretty good efforts, but I don’t think our effort was where it needed to be tonight.”