By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
It was a brutal five game stretch for the Princeton Tigers, beginning in week two and continuing against Capital, Hurricane, Spring Valley and George Washington. During that span the Tigers dropped four in a row before getting back on the winning track last week with a 47-14 win at St. Albans.
Tonight the Tigers welcome the Riverside Warriors to Hunnicutt Field for a game originally scheduled for Friday night, but pushed back a night due to a traffic accident that claimed the lives of a former and current Riverside student. A memorial for those young men was held at RHS, Friday night.
“I know it has been a tough week for Riverside,” said PSHS head coach Randy Peek. “I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes and I’m glad that Coach (Steven) Freeman has still elected to play the game. It puts everything into perspective when you have a loss like that. Football just doesn’t mean as much anymore.”
On the gridiron the Tigers look to continue the success they had last week in the Kanawha Valley against the Red Dragons.
“We ran for over 400 yards and had three backs gain over 100 yard each,” Peek said. “The offensive line and our wideouts Zen Clements and Kirkland Perdue did a great job on the edge blocking.”
Running backs Tahj Sho-Johnson and Jordan Jones and quarterback Jay Palmer each passed the century mark in rushing. There was an area, however, where Peek was not satisfied.
“I was disappointed in our penalty yards,” Peek said. “We had 169 yards in penalties and five unsportsmanlike conducts and that’s not us. It got a little bit chippy.”
Defensively the Tigers held St. Albans to nine yards rushing and only 100 yards passing, 50 of those passing yards coming late in the game against Princeton reserves.
“It felt good to get the win,” Peek commented. “The four games we did lose, the attitude of the kids didn’t change. We went back to the basics and continued to work hard.”
Peek and the Tigers hope the hard work continues to pay off against the Riverside Warriors, who Peek considers much better than their 1-6 record.
“Coach Freeman has done a great job,” Peek noted. “If you ask me, he has the toughest schedule in the state and I think ours is second hardest.
“I have film from the first week to last week and they have gotten better every game. They’ve got two backs that in my opinion have a little bit of spurt in them. They run hard.”
Defensively, Princeton has been working on some new wrinkles to its flexbone which Peek hopes will let the Tigers exploit the Warriors’ weaknesses.
“They float to the ball real well,” Peek said. “We’re working hard on getting to the edge and we’ve put in some stuff that may cause them some problems because they do flow to the ball so well.”
So far the season the Tigers have not had any major injuries as they have in previous campaigns. Peek gave an explanation.
“The off-season conditioning we put these kids through, I think is the main focus and we have been fortunate (knocks on desk),” Peek commented. “It can happen any night. We went through that four week period and that was our biggest thing, how are we going to get through that four-week period without having any injuries and we came through well.”
The 3-4 Tigers play two of their final three games at Hunnicutt Field, hosting Riverside and Woodrow Wilson and closing out the year at James Monroe. While playoffs remain a possibility, Peek said the team is taking it one game at a time.
“We tell them one week at a time. The Riverside bunch, I don’t know if they are going to be fired up because of what happened, or come down here and just go through the motions. You never know how kids are going to react,” Peek said.
“Looking ahead, Woodrow is not a bad team and then we have a week off before James Monroe. It would be great if we could get in the playoffs because we have played some of these teams that are ranked high and we gave them pretty good games.”
Kickoff between Riverside and Princeton is set for 7 o’clock at Hunnicutt Stadium.
— Contact Bob Redd at