They found the corner, and turned it.
On homecoming night, the Princeton Senior High triple-option rolled up 599 yards of offense, all on the ground, and the Tigers won their second straight game, this time 49-10 over Riverside High School at Anne S. Hunnicutt Stadium.
Princeton (4-4) scored on its first six possessions to take a 42-0 halftime advantage.
“Offensively, we came out and got right after them,” said Princeton head coach Randy Peek. “We had a good week of practice offensively, and the kids were ready to go. Right off the bat, our offensive line and receivers did a good job blocking, and our backs ran hard.”
Quarterback Jay Palmer had 234 yards and three touchdowns before halftime, finding the corner for long gains, and ended the night with 253 yards. He also grabbed the game’s only interception.
Peek said, “We’re finally getting Jay to get his reads, and get into the edge. He’s getting a little taste of what he can do now. The last two weeks, he’s done a great job for us.”
“The triple option is tough, but once you get it, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Palmer said about the offensive attack, “It’s tough. You always have to make sure you make the read right, or you can blow the play up. But when you do it right, it can be a beautiful thing.”
“I was just trying to follow my blockers, they’ve been doing real (well) this year – and trying to make sure I make the right cut.”
Tahj Sho-Johnson tallied 138 yards, including a 54-yard scoring run, and was named homecoming king at halftime.
Devin Allen ran for 78 yards and Jordan Jones had 70. Each contributed a touchdown as well.
With Princeton ahead 7-0, Riverside (1-7) was able to mount a 14-play, 79-yard drive to the Princeton 1, only to fumble the ball away.
Peek said, “I was disappointed at times when we let them drive the ball down to the 1 yard line. We bent but we didn’t break, and they showed a lot of character there.”
After Princeton’s next score, Palmer – a relative newcomer to defense for Princeton – picked off Cole Sigman’s pass. He capped off the first half scoring with a dazzling, weaving 33-yard run.
He also had a scoring run of 75 yards on Princeton’s first offensive play, and 83 yards after turning up at the left corner of the formation.
He said his thoughts after the yards started adding up were, “Just keep pushing. Never stop. Never give up, just because we’re winning.”
Riverside got on the scoreboard with 8:27 left in the game on a 27-yard field goal by Derik Chestnut, after manufacturing a drive against a Princeton defense that had several substitutes on the field. The game’s final score came on a 3-yard run by Chaeton Wilkinson with 1:06 left on the clock and few fans left in the chilly stands.
Will Jackson ran for 56 yards on 10 carries for the Warriors, all in the first half. Sigman completed four passes, all to Thad Rumberg, for 87 yards.
Steven Freeman, Riverside’s first-year coach, said, “Princeton’s a good football team. You can see, they’re clicking, they’re getting better.”
“I thought we could play with them, but we had to play well. We didn’t. When you turn the ball over like we did, with the penalties we had ... we didn’t take care of business.”
The visiting Warriors asked to change the game from Friday to Saturday night after a traffic accident killed a Riverside student and a former student earlier in the week. A memorial for the two was scheduled for Friday night.
Freeman said, “I want to make sure to give thanks to Princeton for moving their homecoming game at a time of adversity for us. It was a classy thing to do, and we appreciate it.”
Princeton evened its record and still holds out hope for a Class AAA playoff berth.
Peek said, “I told the kids from now on, every week is a playoff game for us. If we have any chance at all (for making the postseason), we’ve got to win out. Tonight was just our first playoff game.”
—Contact Tom Bone
At Anne S. Hunnicutt Stadium
Riverside.........0 0 0 10 — 10
Princeton........14 28 7 0 — 49
P – Jay Palmer 75 run (Tahj Sho-Johnson kick), 9:16
P – Devin Allen 1 run (Sho-Johnson kick), 0:47
P – Jordan Jones 49 run (Sho-Johnson kick), 10:57
P – Palmer 83 run (Sho-Johnson kick), 7:31
P – Sho-Johnson 54 run (Colton Fix kick), 5:05
P – Palmer 33 run (Fix kick), 2:32
P – Aaron Saunders 4 run (Fix kick), 1:17
R – Derik Chestnut 29 FG, 8:27
R – Chaeten Wilkinson 3 run (Chestnut kick), 1:06
RUSHING – R, Will Jackson 10-56, Jacob Mullins 5-24, Cole Sigman 6-11, Thad Rumberg 2-3, Chaeten Wilkinson 14-47, Tajon Jones 7-45. P, Jay Palmer 7-253, Devin Allen 11-78, Jordan Jones 5-70, Aaron Saunders 5-46, Tahj Sho-Johnson 8-138, Billy Jack Varney 2-8, Nathan Sink 2-3, Turner Nelson 1-3.
PASSING – R, Sigman 4-14-87 yds.-0 TD-1 intc. P, Palmer 0-1-0-0-0.
RECEIVING – R, Rumberg 4-87. P, none
They found the corner, and turned it.
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