PRINCETON — J.J. Davis got his carries, two Beaver quarterbacks got to showcase their talents and Bluefield ran away with a 45-16 win over county rival Princeton on Friday night at H.P. Hunnicutt Stadium.
In the 91st football game between the football programs, injuries played a major factor for both teams, quieting the crowd on several occasions and altering the game plans.
Davis ran for 129 yards on 16 carries, crossing the century mark before halftime. His 20-yard spinning touchdown run wrapped up the first-quarter scoring, with Kaulin Parris’ extra point kick providing the Beavers (2-0) with a 17-8 lead.
Parris had opened the scoring with a 33-yard field goal at the end of Bluefield’s first possession.
The Tigers (0-1), playing their season opener, struggled with their pass-first attack. Senior quarterback Ranson Graham was injured during Princeton’s second drive of the game and did not return.
On the next play, fellow senior Brady Martin stepped in to toss a pass that Josiah Honaker turned into a 41-yard touchdown. a two-point conversion pass to A.J. Jenkins gave Princeton an 8-3 lead with 5:27 left in the initial period, and gave Tiger fans hope in the stands.
That would spell the highlight of the night for the home team.
Jenkins, also a senior, was a wrecking ball for Princeton on defense as well, blunting the Beavers’ assault at crucial times.
Bluefield went back ahead on a short TD run by Isaiah Johnson, followed by Davis’ 20-yard score. Before the half was out, Jahiem House tallied a touchdown on a pass from Carson Deeb and Qunzell Payne found the end zone on a 27-yard interception return with 1:34 on the clock.
In the third quarter, the Beavers got an 11-yard touchdown run from Jaeon Flack, who wound up with 59 yards on seven carries, and the final BHS scoring drive ended with a 4-yard pass from Jamir Blevins to Jacorian Green.
Martin added a late touchdown for Princeton by tossing a 12-yard pass to Justin Young, and Amir Powell added the two-point conversion run for the final tally.
Deeb completed 17 of 27 passes for 140 yards, while Blevins connected on 7 of 9 for 68 yards.
In addition to Graham’s injury, Princeton’s Tyler Dye was hurt on the opening kickoff and was unable to return.
Johnson was injured for Bluefield on the opening kickoff of the second half, and a 19-minute delay ensued. Johnson appeared to incur a left leg injury, but he held up his right arm to the crowd as he was wheeled off the playing surface on a stretcher.
In relief of Graham, Martin completed 10 of 23 passes for 202 yards, but when Princeton needed to give its defense a rest, the Tigers were unable to establish a running attack with a young line laboring against a talented foe.
Bluefield travels to face a tough opponent in Lord Botetourt (Va.) next Friday, while Princeton will host Oak Hill out of Fayette County.
At H.P. Hunnicutt Field
Bluefield.....................17 14 14 0 -- 45
Princeton.......,.............8 0 0 8 -- 16