Sprint Football: Tigers lose against 1st-year opponent Post
Just a week after limiting rival Mansfield to only 10 points, Princeton’s defense gave up 430 offensive yards to the Eagles (1-2 overall, 1-2 Collegiate Sprint Football League), the most it has allowed to any team this season. Post, a first-year team, earned its first-ever victory by beating the Tigers (0-4, 0-3) 33-18 in Princeton’s last home game of the year.
The Tigers struggled on defense and allowed the Eagles to march down the field time and time again. Coming into the matchup, the Eagles averaged just 19.5 rushing yards per game, but they racked up 138 yards on the ground against Princeton.
“Our defense normally does a much better job than we did yesterday,” senior lineman and co-captain Robert Marsland said. “I’m expecting a lot of work on tackling form this week to make sure we reliably bring the runner to the ground when we go up to Army.”
The Tigers also struggled to stop the Eagles’ pass attack and had some “costly missed assignments in pass coverage,” Marsland explained.
One of these big plays came in the second quarter, when Eagles quarterback Sir-Darryl Johnson found a wide open receiver for an easy 57-yard touchdown, putting Post ahead 20-6 at halftime.
While Princeton could not slow down the Post offense, it did put up its best offensive performance of the year.
“On Friday our offense executed the best drives I have seen in my four years with the team,” Marsland said. “We finally learned what it feels like to successfully block for a running play, and how great the results can be.”
The offense was led by sophomore quarterback Jaison Zachariah and sophomore running back John Moffat, who filled in for injured junior Kevin Infante.
Moffat ran through the Eagles’ defense for 131 yards on 22 carries, as he broke tackles left and right behind an improved offensive line.
His performance was highlighted by a long 50-yard run in the third quarter that set up a rushing touchdown for senior running back and co-captain Andrew Gabriele, bringing the Tigers within eight points.
“The O-line did a great job all night blocking their assignments. All I did was run behind them,” Moffat said. “They opened up a lane for me, and I just ran hard for them.”
Moffat also intercepted a pass to give Princeton its first possession of the game. Later in the first quarter, he dove into the end zone on a 10-yard reception for Princeton’s first score.
Zachariah completed 58 percent of his passes, his best completion percentage of the year. With Princeton down 33-18 in the fourth quarter, Zachariah aired out a 60-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Kees Thompson.
“Any time ... you see zero coverage, you want to take a shot,” Zachariah said. “We spent maybe 20 minutes after practice doing deep balls up and down the field, so it paid off.”
The long play excited the crowd and gave the Tigers some momentum, but the positive energy was short-lived, as the drive ended abruptly on a Moffat fumble.
“We didn’t make the plays when we had to,” head coach Tom Cocuzza said.
Princeton converted just two of its four red-zone possessions for touchdowns, while Post was able to convert four of five.
“I thought the team fought really hard tonight,” Moffat said. “We were a few plays away from winning it. It’s frustrating because we’re so close ... We had two or three drives stall in their red zone because of turnovers and penalties. We just need to stay disciplined.”
The Tigers’ next game is against Army on Friday.
They will look to continue their offensive success and rejuvenate their defense against a team they have had considerable trouble with in the past.
The Knights won last year’s game 57-0.
“Our offense really took a big step forward during this game,” Marsland said. “We have every reason for confidence going into next week’s match against Army.”