Cochran runs one in.jpg

Senior quarterback Grant Cochran runs through the Lincoln County defense to score a rushing touchdown against Lincoln County earlier this year.

PRINCETON — Princeton’s football team takes a bye this week and will spend the interim resting, recovering and using all the bonus time to cook up a game plan for next week’s game with Hurricane.

Don’t expect head coach Chris Pedigo to spend a lot of time with his team dissecting film from Friday night’s 28-27 road loss at VHSL Class 3A powerhouse Lord Botetourt. He can’t find fault with the way his kids executed at Daleville.

“I don’t think we need to watch a lot of film. We executed. We performed at a high level. We played a top-tier team in Virginia. We played them well. Our kids had nothing to hang their heads about … they played their butts off,” said Pedigo.

“If anything, now we know that we can play with top-tier talent, because that’s what Lord Botetourt is.”

The Tigers (3-1) literally took it to the Cavaliers (5-1) from the get-go, starting with Dominick Collins’ 96-yard touchdown return of the opening kickoff.

Defensively, Princeton conspired to shut down Lord Botetourt’s rushing attack, led by quarterback Jakari Nicely, that had been the Cavaliers’ bread and butter up to Friday night.

“Defensively, we sold out to stop the run. We decided if they were going to beat us, they had to pass the ball,” said Pedigo.

Nicely, who ended up carrying 37 times for his net 114 yards on the night, was reportedly deeply concerned about his team’s lack of progress on the ground versus the Tigers early on. But the Cavs decided to take what Princeton was giving them and Nicely proved more than up to the task of following a radically different game plan.

Up until Friday, Nicely was chiefly considered a rushing quarterback. From this point forward, Lord Botetourt’s opponents are going to have to respect his arm. Nicely went on to complete 17 of 25 passing attempts for 267 yards and two scoring strikes, also rushing for a pair of TDs.

Princeton senior quarterback Grant Cochran was his usual solid self, completing 13-of-19 passing attempts for 308 yards and three TD passes. He gained no rushing yardage.

“We gave up three sacks … the first three sacks we’ve given up this year … but we played against three Power 5 defensive linemen,” Pedigo noted.

Collins’ explosive game-opening scoring play set the tone for the rest of the night he’d have. Collins cashed in on scoring receptions of 14, 74 and 43 yards. He had 280 all-purpose yards.

Brodee Rice (2-52), Brad Mossor (4-48) and Carter Meachum (3-26) also contributed key catches that kept the chains moving for the Tigers.

Trailing by 1 point late in the fourth quarter, Princeton threatened late but had a probable TD pass broken up in the end zone by a great defensive play and also had a field goal attempt by placekicker Saeed Aboulhosn go shy of the mark — on the second attempt.

Pedigo had zero complaints about Aboulhosn, who had stepped up from JV to fill the shoes of starter Kasey Geso, who was injured in a soccer match on Thursday night.

“We didn’t have the ball a lot in the second half. We got down on the 4-yard line with about 3-minutes left in the game but weren’t able to make the plays. We actually made a field goal there but we had a delay of game [flag] and they moved us back five — and we missed it,” Pedigo said.

“[Aboulhosn] did a great job for us. He did a fantastic job,” said Pedigo, who said his backup certainly had the leg to make the repeat kick, but could have benefitted from having been in such a high-pressure scenario before.

The loss to Lord Botetourt dropped the Tigers to No. 11 in the WVSSAC Class AAA rankings, but there will be more opportunities to climb. After the off week, Princeton looks to face Class AAA No. 5 Hurricane, No. 10 Woodrow Wilson, No. 8 Bridgeport, regional rival Greenbrier East and No. 1 Parkersburg South.

“We’ll work on some things that we’ve got to clean up. But if our kids continue to play like they played the other night, I couldn’t be more proud. They laid it all out on the line,” Pedigo said.

— Contact

Trending Video

Recommended for you