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After Falling 35-0 at Northern Burlington in Opener, PHS Football Aiming to Bounce Back at Hightstown

CHARLIE COMPANY: Princeton High football head coach Charlie Gallagher prowls the sideline during a recent practice. Last Friday, PHS fell 35-0 at Northern Burlington in the season opener and Gallagher’s debut at the helm of the program. The Little Tigers will look to get on the winning track when they host Hightstown on September 21 in their first game on the school’s new turf field.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

CHARLIE COMPANY: Princeton High football head coach Charlie Gallagher prowls the sideline during a recent practice. Last Friday, PHS fell 35-0 at Northern Burlington in the season opener and Gallagher’s debut at the helm of the program. The Little Tigers will look to get on the winning track when they play at Hightstown on September 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Opening its season at Northern Burlington last Thursday, the Princeton High football team got off to a rough start, falling behind 7-0 on first play from scrimmage.

But thunderstorms hit the area and the game was suspended until Friday afternoon when it was picked up in progress in the first quarter.

Unfortunately, PHS was struck by lightning on Friday, this time in the form of Northern Burlington running back Kenyatta Green, who rushed for 163 yards on 10 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Greyhounds jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead.

“He is obviously a quality running back,” said Gallagher of Green. “We didn’t play him last year but we had heard things about him. You need all 11 hats on him. He is a violent runner, he was slinging people all over.”

Facing such a large deficit, Gallagher decided to mix things up a little bit in the second half.

“At half, we decided to try some different people,” said Gallagher.

“We wanted to get a couple of scores but it was an opportunity to find more ball players. We wanted them to keep their heads up and stay positive.”

While the score ended up 35-0, Gallagher saw some positives over the last 24 minutes of the contest as he made his debut at the helm of the program.

“On defense, we had some guys who played really well,” said Gallagher, a former assistant coach for PHS who was elevated to take over for Joe Gargione.

“Colin Buckley did well at end. We moved Liam Helstrom to middle linebacker and he did well. We moved Chris Harisiades from linebacker to defense end and he made some plays there. Sam Smallzman took some big hits at quarterback but he delivered some big hits at linebacker.”

Gallagher acknowledged that his offense needs to deliver some more production.

“Both quarterbacks (Smallzman and Dave Beamer) went 3-for-11 passing; we need to have a better completion rate,” said Gallagher.

“We need to run the ball more. I think we only had 11 attempts. We couldn’t get anything going. We had a lot of three and outs. We had the ball on their 50 a couple of times but we didn’t get any deeper than the 15-yard line.”

PHS is determined to have a better day when it plays at Hightstown on September 20.

“We didn’t look pretty against Northern Burlington and it wasn’t pretty for Hightstown against Nottingham (a 48-7 loss), the defending Central Jersey Group III champions,” said Gallagher. “We are looking at film of Hightstown and we will try to figure them out. We need to get on the board a few times and try to hold them and make it a low scoring game.”

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