It was a misty Saturday afternoon in Northeast Washington D.C., where the Gallaudet Bison faced the Norwich Cadets in a contest with Conference Title implications. Gallaudet, a historic, Division III school for the deaf and hard of hearing, came in riding a 4 game win
streak after a hard fought 7-6 win last week over conference rival and 2012 ECFC Champion, Mount Ida. Before the game, Gallaudet Defensive Coordinator, John Davis said that Norwich would be the last team on the schedule to give them problems en route to an ECFC Title, and he was dead on in his prediction.
The Bison absolutely dominated the first half of the game. Gallaudet and their aggressive, triple option offense out of the Wing-T kept the Norwich defense on their toes, gashing the Cadets for 192 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. The Bison also benefited from great field position thanks to their hard-nosed defense and short punts from Norwich. Gallaudet Running back Ryan Bonheyo looked especially impressive when he showcased his great speed and size on a 7 yard score early in the first.
Gallaudet’s defense, headlined by NFL defensive end prospect Adham Talaat (6’6”, 292, Senior), stifled the Norwich offense in the first half, allowing only 2 drives of more than 3 plays, with a lone touchdown given up after a Bison interception was returned to the Gallaudet 14 yard line.
The second half proved to be much more of a challenge for the Gallaudet squad. After an early field goal put the Bison up 30-7, the team finished the game with 3 punts, a fumble, and a turnover on downs on offense. Thankfully for the Bison, Adham Talaat came out of the locker room with uncontainable zeal, and helped the defense force 3 consecutive 3-and-outs, allowing a combined -11 yards of total offense in the third quarter. Talaat completely shut down the weakside of the field, while taking on and defeating triple teams. Even with triple coverage, Talaat still earned 2 tackles for loss and a sack, which came on consecutive plays.
Norwich made a great 4th quarter adjustment to Talaat by running more quick passes and option plays keyed at Talaat, which led to 15 unanswered points. Toward the end of the game, it was clear that being double and triple teamed all game, and the limited defensive rotation had left Talaat exhausted. Talaat labored to stand on the sideline as he watched Norwich come closer and closer to tying up the game. However, as the Norwich offense made it’s last attempt for the endzone with 28 seconds left, Talaat mustered the strength for one last play and helped his team force a fumble to win the game.
Although Gallaudet Head Coach Chuck Goldstein admitted he was not comfortable with winning two consecutive games that close, the Bison earned their first win over Norwich in school history. Furthermore, the team moves to 5-0 on the year, including 2-0 in conference play, and now own sole possession of first place in the ECFC. The team hopes to extend their win streak to 6 as they travel to Castleton State next week in another conference matchup.–Daniel Jonsson– @HighDesertScout