NORWELL — Norwell got its running game going again and cruised to a 32-14 win over East Bridgewater on Friday night in the opening game of the Division 6 South playoffs.
Last week, the Clippers’ run attack was limited with running back Bryce Griffin sidelined with an injury. The host Vikings took advantage, earning a 35-28 comeback win to close out the regular season and qualify for the playoffs.
The loss continued a winless streak for Norwell against the Vikings dating to 2009. With Griffin back on the field Friday night after missing consecutive games with injuries, the Clippers snapped the streak. Griffin rushed 26 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way.
“We had a losing streak against these guys for a long time,” said Griffin. “It’s amazing to have one win, especially in the playoffs. It’s big.”
East Bridgewater (3-5) led after a quarter as the Vikings’ run game dominated. Senior Eric Duhamel shredded the Clippers’ defense for 34 yards and a touchdown on a 70-yard opening drive. But after a defensive adjustment by Norwell, East Bridgewater gained just 108 yards the rest of the game.
“Last week was ugly,” said Norwell coach Jim Connor. “Our defensive coordinator did a great job adjusting the defense and our kids bought into it. We start six sophomores on defense so there’s going to be learning curves.”
Norwell (7-1) took the lead for good in the second quarter. Griffin capped an 11-play drive with a 4-yard scamper.
Griffin also punched in a pair of fourth-quarter scores from 1 and 10 yards out. The first one came three plays after Cal Smith connected with Ethan Robbins for 71 yards.
Smith finished with 56 yards rushing and a touchdown to go along with 121 yards on 4-for-5 passing.
“We did a couple new things, some shifting,” said Connor. “It’s always been in our system and thought it would work in our advantage. And it showed that we have a little more versatility in what we do.”