NORWICH, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – We continue our preseason coverage of section 4 high school football with another school looking to make a run at a section title.

After losing in the section 4 championship last year, Norwich is looking to change that in 2023.

The Norwich Purple Tornado were a force in 2022 but lost to the eventual state champions in the Class B section final.

This year, the team returns many key players who are hungry for a championship.

“Obviously a tough loss there at the end of the year,” Junior Quarterback Steven Dowdall said. “But I think that just motivates us to come back even stronger this year and get right back where we ended last year and move farther.”

The lineup will feature many familiar faces, leading to plenty of experience entering the year.

But even for those new to the varsity roster, the players have confidence in one another entering the season.

“Even the new guys coming up are filling spots and they know what they’re doing,” Senior Right Guard and Defensive End Michael Blenis said. “They’re experienced from last year. We got a lot of experienced guys coming back this year.”

Norwich is hoping that experience will lead to success on the field.

Entering 2023, the team feels like they will be strong on both sides of the ball.

“We got a lot of offense coming back,” Dowdall said. “I like to say we were strong last year there. Our defense is gonna be a lot better than it was last year. We were good last year, but we’re gonna be even stronger this year.”

The first test for this group is in just a couple of days, with a week 0 contest against a Batavia team who made the state semifinals last year.

Playing against such a strong opponent right away is something the coaches hope will help the team later on.

“Section 4 I think is the toughest in the state,” Head Coach Michael Chrystie said. “So, any time you can get a challenge outside the section like Batavia, it’s only gonna help us and prepare us for the season.”

All of this leads the Purple Tornado to their ultimate goal, capturing the championship they were 1 win away from last year.

“They understand what it takes to get there,” Chrystie said. “And now it’s just a matter of trying to overcome and get that first sectional crown for Norwich since 1999.”