By JEFF LAMPE
For The Weekly Post
PRINCEVILLE – Tied at halftime last Friday, playoff hopes were likely hanging in the balance for the Princeville and Monmouth United football teams.
But after yielding 20 points in the first half, Princeville’s defense took control in a 36-20 victory that gives the Princes (3-2, 3-1 LincolnLand small division) breathing room in the quest for five wins and a postseason berth.
“At halftime we made a couple of adjustments and the defense really responded,” Princeville Coach Jon Carruthers said. “The kids came out and got some big hits and stops and it grew from there.”
Two big plays in the last few minutes of the game ultimately made the difference. The first came from Josh Hunt, who caught a 10-yard pass from Logan Carruthers and then broke four tackles en route to a 67-yard score.
“That was one of the more impressive runs I’ve seen” Coach Carruthers said. “Hunt made a heckuva effort.”
Following the touchdown, Coach Carruthers was ejected after arguing a late-hit call. He will be unable to coach Princeville’s next game at South Fulton.
“I’m disappointed in myself for getting into that position,” he said.
But the coach was doubly proud of his defense’s response after United followed Hunt’s long run by driving to the Princeville 20-yard line.
First Denzell Garza blew up a quarterback sweep for a loss. On the next play, Jake Williams intercepted a pass and sprinted 77 yards for the clinching score.
Williams had started his third game at QB and completed 10 of 15 passes for 153 yards before Logan Carruthers came in during the fourth quarter. It was his first action since suffering a shoulder injury in Princeville’s second game.
Williams passed for one touchdown in the first half to Hunter Johnson. The Princes got their other two scores on a 22-yard run by Tayshaun Kieser and a 4-yard run by Eli Christianson.
United ran for 208 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry but was hurt by three interceptions. Princeville fared much better with its passing attack, which racked up 240 yards through the air. Princeville also had 109 rushing yards.
“I can’t say enough about what Jake has done in the past three weeks,” Coach Carruthers said. “We just thought we might need a spark there towards the end.”
Heading into Friday’s game at South Fulton, Coach Carruthers said he is uncertain who will start at quarterback.
“They both have their strengths. How lucky are we to have two different styles of offense we can run,” Coach Carruthers said. “Whoever starts the game, the other will probably get some reps.”
South Fulton 18
ONEIDA – ROWVA-Williamsfield maintained a perfect record heading into its showdown Friday night at Oneida against Stark County. Both teams are 5-0 overall, 4-0 in the LincolnLand small-school division.
The host Cougars made relatively short work of South Fulton (2-3, 2-2), which trailed 21-0 at intermission following two touchdowns from Spencer Brown. He ran 2 yards for a score after he caught a 7-yard pass from Riley Danner for another.
Brown scored again in the third quarter, on a 37-yard run, and finished with a team-high 149 yards rushing. Teammate Bryan Bertlshofer scored once and ran for 143 yards.
“We had a touchdown get called back at the end of the half, but we came out and played pretty good,” R-W Coach Grant Gullstrand said. “We could have been a little bit better offensively, but the defense did a nice job.”
Gullstrand said Mathew Dennison, Luke Nelson and Preston Schroeder helped lead that defensive effort.
The game Friday will be the Cougars’ third against Stark County in less than one calendar year. R-W won both of last season’s meetings, including a Class 1A state-playoffs opener. Gullstrand said both programs are similar, but Stark County quarterback Luke Rewerts presents a test.
“Anytime you have a really good athlete at quarterback, you’re worried about him running and throwing,” Gullstrand said. “It’s going to be a great test for our defense, so hopefully they’re up for the challenge.”
– Nick Vlahos
Stark County (5-0, 4-0) led just 7-0 at halftime, but set up Friday’s battle of unbeatens with R-W after Braden Lindley and Matthew Bowser each returned interceptions for scores in a 20-8 victory against winless West Hancock. Stark County had four interceptions overall. The Rebels were without Tanner Price, a three-year starter on the offensive and defensive lines who suffered a quad injury at the end of practice last Thursday. His status for Friday’s game at Oneida is uncertain, Coach Jade Noard said on Monday. … Annawan-Wethersfield (4-1, 4-1) led 28-0 at halftime against Abingdon-Avon (0-5, 0-5) and tacked on two scores in the third. Zeb Rashid ran for two TDs, quarterback Dillon Horrie ran for one score and passed for another, Ashton Potter ran for one TD and backup QB Brody Childs ran for the final score. … Rushville-Industry (2-3, 2-3) ran for 379 yards, including 181 and two TDs from Tanner Gray on 10 carries, in a 26-22 win over Havana. R-I also got two touchdown passes on two completions from quarterback Jacob Lazzell. Havana (0-5, 0-5) kept it closed despite only gaining 190 yards and possession the ball for just 16:01.
By JEFF LAMPE