Princeton knew the team’s hands would be full with the Annandale Cardinals on the gridiron. The Cardinals were able to advance to the 3A State Tournament last season, being seeded No.1 before falling in the state semifinals.
The Tigers gave Annandale a strong showing but fell short of defeating the Cardinals in a 21-12 loss on the road last Friday.
Head Coach Ryan Fay was pleased with the showing Princeton had in a tough game against Annandale. “We loved the effort we got from our guys. We were kind of uncertain with what we had as we have quite a few guys who are either first time varsity guys or young who had to play a lot of minutes for us but we really competed,” he said.
The first half saw a defensive battle between the two opponents as they entered the second quarter scoreless.
Princeton was able to strike first through the air as sophomore quarterback Cooper Drews was able to find Evan Schimming for the 66-yard touchdown pass, giving the Tigers the 6-0 lead. That margin would be the score going into half.
Drews had relieved senior Ben Arseneau, who had started the game for Princeton. The team will evaluate the quarterbacks in practice as the quarterback battle is still raging. “We’ve had a quarterback battle since June 1st. We knew Cooper Drews would have a chance to impact right away and they’ve had their battles during practice. Ben (Arseneau) got the start and he had the opportunity and we thought it would be fit to give Cooper his and he did pretty well,” Fay said.
Drews completed five passes for 133 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while Arseneau had one completion for five yards.
With Drews under center, Areseneau was able to make an impact on defense picking up two tackles.
Back for the second half Drews returned with the starting offense. Annandale was able to pick off the young quarterback and return it for the score, tying the game.
The Cardinals used the momentum from the turnover and score to once again score making the game a 14-6 game entering the final quarter.
In the fourth, Annandale once again scored, this time via a Landon Jones touchdown pass making the game 21-6.
Princeton was able to strike with a 37-yard pass from Drews to Haydn Stay but the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful leading the game to its final score at 21-12.
Jacob Whitcomb led Princeton rushing with 32 yards on eight attempts. Defensively Zach Marshall and Manny Flicek combined for 21 tackles with Flicek adding an interception.
Looking to get into the win column, Princeton is getting ready for St. Cloud Cathedral.
Despite the Crusaders having a rough season last year, Fay won’t let the Tigers overlook their opponent. “We are prepping for high level play every week. We have to, we haven’t done any special to the point that we can’t. We have to practice and prepare like we are always playing the best of them,” said Fay.
Princeton will host the Crusaders on Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. due to MEA break.