Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 39
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
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FLASH GORDON: Princeton High junior running back Josh Gordon tries to elude a tackler in action earlier this season. Last Friday, Gordon raced past a lot of Ewing tacklers, rushing for 107 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries as PHS routed the Blue Devils 39-7. The Little Tigers, now 1-1, play at WW/P-N on September 27.

Heeding Wake-up Call From Opening Day Loss, PHS Football Rebounds by Routing Ewing 39-7

Bill Alden

Steve Everette imitated Johnny Cash’s sartorial style last week but not because he is a fan of the late country music star.

Instead, the Princeton High football head coach was the man in black at practice last week, looking to set the tone as PHS worked on bouncing back from its 29-3 opening day drubbing at the hands of Nottingham.

“The mood in practice was glum, I wore black everyday,” said Everett.

“The kids worked their tails off, the coaching staff worked its tail off. The loss to Nottingham was a wake-up call for everybody.”

Last Friday, the Little Tigers woke up early as they played at Ewing. With speedy junior Josh Gordon racing for touchdown runs of 27 and 22 yards the first two times he touched the ball, PHS jumped out to a 14-0 lead.

Then bruising tailback Trevor Barsamian provided the body blows, pounding for 156 yards on 26 carries as the Little Tigers pulled away to a 39-7 romp over the Blue Devils and improved to 1-1.

In Everette’s view, the formula for success was straightforward.

“We had a good week of practice,” said Everett. “We got back to basics, blocking, tackling, and running the football.”

The play of Gordon, who gained only 17 yards in the loss to Nottingham, was a big lift for the Little Tigers.

“Josh gave us what we have been looking for from him,” said Everette of Gordon who ended the night with three touchdowns and 107 yards on just seven carries.

“He was banged up at the end of training camp and he might have still been banged up a little bit last week. He’s a special player.”

The combination of Gordon and the 245-pound Barsamian makes PHS hard to defend.

“Some people like to call them thunder and lightning but I think of them as the hammer and the nail,” maintained Everette.

“Trevor hammers you and then Josh is the nail in the coffin. If we have a lead late in the game, the other teams don’t like tackling a guy that goes 245-250.”

While the backs deservedly got kudos for their production, it was the inspired play of the PHS offensive line that sprung things.

“Those kids took it upon themselves to do better,” added Everette, whose team outgained Ewing 408 yards to 189.

“Seniors Joey Giacalone and Tom Hines took the offensive line by the collar and said we are better than how we played against Nottingham. We have great senior leadership. The seniors made the holes and the juniors ran through them.”

The Little Tigers also got some good leadership from its quarterback tandem of senior Connor Ryan and junior Mike Olentine, who both played efficiently in the win over Ewing.

Ryan hit 6-of-10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown while Olentine was 3-for-6 for 59 yards.

“That was what we want to do, both kids played and they both get the chance to sit back and see what’s going on,” said Everette. “We have a package for each kid.”

Everette is optimistic that Friday’s performance will portend what is in store for the Little Tigers this fall.

“I hope the Ewing game was a more accurate reflection,” said Everette.

“We are facing a tough WW/P-N team next week. We watched them last Saturday and they are much improved. We are going to see if we can put a few good games together; we have had a tough time doing that in the past.”

The painful memory of the Nottingham loss should help PHS keep its nose to the grindstone.

“I think the kids got a good taste of what it is like to lose and they didn’t like it,” said Everette.

“They had put in the work in the offseason and they didn’t play to their ability against Nottingham. They gave a better effort on Friday and they saw what can happen.”

A lot of good things could happen this fall if PHS keeps giving the kind of effort it displayed against Ewing.

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