November 20, 2003
Princeton Ends Tigers’ Season In Opening Round Of State Playoffs
Scotland County’s string of strong second halves on their way to the state playoffs came to an end Wednesday night in Princeton as the #2 team in the state ended the Tigers season with 26 points after halftime to complete a 36-0 shutout of SCR-I.
Princeton (11-0) simply had too many weapons for the solid Tigers defense to contend with. All three running backs in coach Dave Cavanah’s split backfield rushed for more than 100 yards in the victory.
Princeton wasted little time putting the game’s first points on the board. After the Tigers took the opening kick off and moved the chains for a first down, SCR-I was forced to punt.
With 5:20 left in the first half Princeton scored on a 27-yard run by Nate Craft who took the double hand-off against the flow of the defense and went in on the reverse. Brett Cavanah made the PAT to put the home team on top 7-0.
Scotland County caught a break on its next possession. The Tigers went three and out and were forced to punt. But punter Tim Robinson bobbled the snap. He was able to get the kick away but the delay nearly allowed the kick to be blocked. The defender was unable to get the ball but did hit Robinson drawing a roughing the kicker penalty.
The huge break really swung the momentum to the Tigers. Joel Myers picked up a pair of first downs. A diving catch by Jared Shelley moved the chains again before the drive stalled at the 19-yard line where the Tigers turned the ball over on downs.
Princeton immediately started moving the ball down field. Craft and Cavannah did the bulk of the work picking up big chunks of yardage as the Tigers were never able to even extend the team to third down until they had the ball deep in scoring position.
Kiel Fogle made yet another big tackle, in a season of key stops. The senior linebacker caught Craft in the backfield to set up third and long. Princeton, which is not known for its passing attack, was unable to pick up the first and had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Cavanah. The kick was tipped at the line by SCR-I but fluttered just over the cross beam for three points to make the score 10-0 with 7:47 remaining in the second period.
Scotland County went three and out and appeared headed for a big halftime deficit.
But the Tigers defense made the stops when it needed to. Once again Princeton was stopped in scoring position and had to settle for a field goal attempt. This time Cavanah’s kick was no good from 30 yards out.
The Tigers took over with just over two minutes left in the first half at their own 20. SCR-I looked content to run out the clock but after Myers picked up a pair of first downs Coach Brent Bondurant went for the quick strike. Quarterback Danny Roach launched the perfect throw down the far sideline but the sure-handed Clint Cottrell was unable to come up with the ball. The Tigers had to settle going into the locker room down 10-0 at the break.
Princeton racked up more than 200 yards of rushing and 11 first downs in the opening 24 minutes of play but had just 10 points to show for it.
That would change in the second half as the points came fast and furiously for the home team in the third period.
After Princeton recovered a fumble by Cavanah that had them backed up second and long Craft broke through the Tigers defense for a 45-yard touchdown run. Cavanah’s PAT made the score 17-0 with 8:54 left in the period.
Scotland County moved the ball on its next possession as Myers looked like a man on a mission. But once again the Tigers couldn’t convert on fourth down and a yard and turned the ball over on downs at the 18-yard line.
Two plays later it was the third option for Princeton, Brandon Parsons who took another double handoff that fooled the SCR-I defense and went around the left end for a 77-yard touchdown as he outran the defense.
Carl Wittstock blocked Cavanah’s PAT kick to keep the score at 23-0 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers punted the ball back to Princeton after a short offensive set. Princeton moved down field but Cavannah missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
After Shelly picked up a first down the wind went out of SCR-I’s sails when Tyler Roberts picked off the pass attempt by Roach and returned it for a 37-yard touchdown to open the fourth quarter. The Tigers stopped Princeton’s two-point conversion leaving the home team on top 29-0 with 11:22 showing on the clock.
The game continued down hill for Scotland County as on the next possession Princeton recovered a fumbled snap at the 40-yard line.
The SCR-I defense held and gave the Tigers the ball back with 8:24 remaining as the 2003 football season was quickly drifting away.
The Tigers took one last shot at a score. Roach hit Cottrell for a pass down the sideline that resulted in a 43-yard gain. But the Tigers could get nothing further from there and turned the ball over on downs.
The two teams traded punts before turning the game over to the backups for the final six minutes of the contest.
Reserve tailback Clint Moore showed his stuff for Princeton taking his first carry of the game for a 57-yard touchdown to put the final points on the board. Cavanah’s PAT was the final tally as Princeton rolled on to the 36-0 win.
Princeton amassed almost 500 yards of rushing en route to 19 first downs. Cavanah had 148 yards on 20 attempts including a 43-yard run. Craft carried the ball just 13 times but gained 144 yards. His long run on the night was a 45-yard gain. Parsons got more than half his total yards on the 77-yard TD but finished with 141 total yards on nine carries before Moore wrapped up the night with his 52-yard scamper.
The home team attempted on one pass the entire game.
Tim Robinson had nine tackles to lead the Scotland County defense along with Fogle, who played the game with a broken wrist in a protective cast. Aaron Dale and Myers each made seven tackles for the Tigers.
Scotland County had 13 first downs in the game. Roach completed five of 20 pass attempts for 64 yards and one interception. Cottrell made two grabs for 55 yards with Shelley, Dale and Wittstock accounting for the other catches.
Myers closed out his strong senior season with 111 yards on 28 carries. Dale had eight yards on three attempts and Shelley made four carries for 12 yards.
The Tigers ended the season 6-5 while Princeton advances to the state quarterfinals where they will take on Mid Buchanan (8-3), which defeated Rockport 32-0.