NORTHFIELD, Vt. - Just over two weeks ahead of kickoff, The Norwich Cadets are back in pads. This season, they're moving from the ECFC into the NEWMAC conference, which will be a step up in competition. Head Coach Mark Murnyak tells us, that's how you get better.
"It was probably the next step for our program for continuing to climb," says Murnyak, "I think that playing against tough competition... I think it only raises your game."
That's the goal in the long run: To get better and make an impact. But this conference is tough. Worcester Polytechnic is part of the new league. And they've put a beating on Norwich each of the last three years.
But the move also opens up a chance for the Cadets to play for two mid-season trophies.
Senior guard Peter Lalime explains, "The Castleton game's huge, it alsways has been since I've been here, to hold on to the Maple Sap Bucket. And then this year, rehashing the rivalry with the Coast Guard is a huge game on Alumni weekend."
The Coast Guard game is a "Military Bowl" as the teams will play in the "Battle for the Mug" for the first time since 2005. The Castleton game, now a non-conference meeting, has been moved up from the end of the year, to week three.
Of course success all depends on the quarterback Philippe Bazinett. Entering his third and final year with the weight of the team on his shoulders.
Bazinett admits, "It's a little bit stressful. Everyone's looking at you and you have higher expectations. And you never know if it's your last time that you're gonna play football. So, just ready to have fun and we'll just see how this season goes."
The Cadets will begin to see how the season will go on September 2nd, when Norwich hosts Morrisville State at noon.
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