Norwood hurt his ankle in the first half and suffered a game-ending injury to his knee early in the fourth quarter. But the senior sensation still managed to muster out 193 yards on 22 carries and score two first half touchdowns.
Brandon would need all the help it could get as the No. 7 high school team in the country had to hold on to a 16-14 win over 1-5 Meridian High School on the Wildcats home turf.
When Norwood left the field with 10 minutes remaining in the game, Brandon had a 16-7 lead and was driving down the field for another score. But Meridian took advantage of the star's absence as the Wildcats scored a late touchdown and kicked an apparent game-winning field goal in the waning seconds of the game.
The 47-yard kick cut through the rain and sailed through the uprights but was called back after a dead-ball penalty on Brandon for an illegal substitution. Meridian was forced to re-kick and it was blocked.
The Bulldogs took a knee to run out the clock and walked off Meridian's Ray Stadium the same way they entered. Unbeaten.
Norwood and his Bulldog teammates looked virtually unstoppable in the game's opening minutes. The Brandon speedster led his team to consecutive opening touchdown drives of 65 and 45 yards.
Norwood scampered into the end zone on touchdown runs of 16 and 7 yards as Brandon jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. But when Norwood was sent to the sideline after suffering an ankle sprain on a Brandon drive deep in Meridian territory, the Wildcats took advantage.
MHS managed to halt the drive and score a second quarter touchdown. The Wildcats headed into the locker room trailing 16-7.
Brandon¹s trainers taped up Norwood's sprained ankle at halftime and he went to work in the second half.
Norwood racked up his biggest gainer of the night in the third quarter on a 48-yard run. He broke open a 62-yard run on the next drive but it was wiped out by a penalty.
The future MSU Bulldog showed signs of greatness all night long as he ran over, through and around Meridian's stout defense, a defense that shut down Wayne County on the road a week earlier.
He consistently hit his holes with incredible acceleration and eluded numerous would be defenders with breathe-taking break-away speed.
Brandon's coaches said after the game that they didn't want to speculate on the severity of Norwood's injury, but did say they believe it is his MCL.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star and host of Solid Sports Talk on 1390 AM in Meridian. Call him at 601-693-1551 ext. 3228, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org