“It is a big win on the scoreboard but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Princeton head coach Bill Leach. “It is hard to say how we really did until we see the tape tomorrow.”
In a blink of an eye, Princeton scored its first TD just over a minute into the game on a 23-yard scoring run by sophomore Spencer Ware.
A shade over a minute-and-a-half later, Princeton’s Quinton Daniels blocked a punt deep in Western Hills territory and returned it 16 yards for the score. With the failed Chris Kraemer extra point, the Vikings had an early 13-0 lead.
Princeton scored three more times in the first quarter (Chris Brown 41-yard run, Jordan Albright 1-yard run, B.J. Willis 3-yard run) to go up 34-0 after only 12 minutes of play.
In the second quarter with most of Princeton’s starters already on the bench, Ware added another score and the point after put Princeton up 41-0 at the break.
Western Hills (0-1) started the second half with the ball but on the second play from scrimmage quarterback Theron Gardner threw an INT into the hands of Princeton linebacker Jake Adams who returned it 15 yards for the TD to put the Vikings up 48-0 with the point after.
Princeton (1-0) added one more score in the third quarter (Bryan Shelby 2-yard run) and another in the fourth on a 55-yard Sean Blair INT return for a TD to put 62 points up on the scoreboard following the point after.
Princeton tallied 247 yards rushing on 41 carries led by Brown with 114 yards on five carries and a TD in the first quarter. Ware had 50 yards on two carries.
“It was nice to see a running game,” Leach said. “(Brown) had a heck of a game running the ball. We didn’t even have to turn (Ware) loose tonight. He’s our go-to guy and tonight we could keep the rein on him tonight. Last year our running game was (Ware) and we worked in the off-season getting a running game and we’ll see if that is the answer.”
Princeton only had 30 yards passing and lost 3-of-4 fumbles.
Defensively, the Vikings had six INTs and two fumble recoveries with four sacks.
The lone Western Hills TD came in the final quarter on a 47-yard fumble recovery by LB Nigel Thomas in the closing minutes.
The Mustangs had 166 yards of total offense led by quarterback Keenan Nelson who was 7-of-11 passing for 102 yards. Receiver Shed Gardner reeled in seven catches for 126 yards.
As a team, the Western Hills had -2 yards rushing.
“The biggest thing is this was probably the worst way to come out and open the season,” said first-year Western Hills head coach Chris MacFarland. “But it is a team that had a lot of chaos when I took it over and we have to change the atmosphere at (Western Hills) into a winning one.
“We have plenty of talent and great kids and we just have to believe it. That is what we have to change and they have to believe in each other.”
Princeton opened up the season last year with 34-0 win over Western Hills and went on to finish the season 3-7. Leach is hoping for a better result this season.
“I think last year we were satisfied (with the season opening win) and thought we were really good,” he said. “Hopefully we learned from that last year and we can get back to work tomorrow.”
Princeton is scheduled to play Centerville at home in week two and Oak Hills will visit Western Hills.