Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 46
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
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SLIPPERY SITUATION: Princeton High junior linebacker Tom Borchert corrals Blake Bascom of Monroe last Friday in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group III state playoffs. Borchert and his teammates had trouble slowing Bascom as he ran for 302 yards to lead Monroe to a 42-0 triumph.

PHS Football Routed by Monroe in Playoffs but Proud of Accomplishments in 7-3 Season

Bill Alden

There were plenty of reasons for the Princeton High football players to hang their heads after their Central Jersey Group III state playoff game last Friday at Monroe High.

Playing in miserable conditions with a pelting downpour and gusting winds, seventh-seeded PHS absorbed a beating at the hands of the No. 2 Falcons.

Unable to slow Monroe running back Blake Bascom, the Little Tigers fell behind 14-0 after the first quarter. With Bascom piling up more than 200 yards rushing in the first half, PHS headed into intermission trailing 35-0.

The Falcons built the lead to 42-0 in the third quarter before PHS showed some gumption in getting into the red zone on two occasions.

The Little Tigers, though, were unable to score and the final margin came in at that 42-0 score as Bascom ended the evening with 302 yards on the ground.

While the PHS players were disappointed by the outcome, several of the team’s seniors hugged on the field in a final show of solidarity and pride for what they accomplished as they went 7-3 this fall.

After head coach Steve Everette’s post-game speech, the underclassmen showed their appreciation for the seniors by carrying several of them off the field, exemplifying the team’s “Band of Brothers” theme.

A drenched Everette, dressed in his trademark suit and wearing no rain gear, praised his corps of seniors.

“It is just a little bittersweet; when you have 20 seniors, you want to end on a better note,” said Everette, who previously guided the program to a playoff appearance in 2007, its first post-season trip since the mid-1990s.

“I didn’t do a good enough job to end it off but I am proud of our guys and as you can see, they are proud of themselves and the work they did. We had seven wins, a division title and another playoff berth. We have a lot to be proud of.”

Everette acknowledged that his proud team was no match for Monroe. “They came prepared to play; they did a helluva job,” said Everette of Monroe, who improved to 8-1 with the win.

“We couldn’t stop them to save our lives. They have got a real good offensive line; they have a nice unbalanced set that they run. We just didn’t have an answer for it and they did a great job of running it.”

Undaunted by the Monroe onslaught, PHS kept battling down the stretch. With senior star Trevor Barsamian ripping off a 65-yard gain, PHS got as deep as the Monroe five-yard-line late in the third quarter. The Little Tigers, however, were stopped on downs as a Mike Olentine pass into the end zone was incomplete.

In the fourth quarter, PHS put together another march as Barsamian rumbled for runs of 19 and 16 yards. The Little Tigers got to the Falcon eight before they turned it over on downs.

Everette, for one, was not surprised by the fight shown by his seniors to the bitter end.

“All year, our seniors have led us,” said Everette who got 112 yards rushing from the burly Barsamian on the evening.

“In good times and bad, they have always led us. Being down, the kids didn’t look at the scoreboard. They weren’t worried about it; they just wanted to keep playing. They wanted to enjoy being together as a team the last time out so they played their tails off to the very end.”

As a result, there is no wonder that the night ended with plenty of hugs among those PHS veterans.

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