Vol. LXI, No. 37
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
POWER PLAY: Princeton High senior star Doug Borchert brushes aside two Steinert tacklers on his way to 180 yards rushing in PHS' 29-7 rout of Steinert last Saturday in the season opener for both teams. Borchert scored three touchdowns and contributed three fumble recoveries from his linebacker spot. PHS will look to keep rolling when it plays at Nottingham on September 15.
They got up just after dawn throughout the off-season for 6:30 a.m. weight workouts, undergoing some of the most arduous conditioning in program history.
The players on the Princeton High football team were determined to establish themselves as a physical football team, a group that delivers the first lick to get the opposition reeling.
In their season opener at Steinert last Saturday, the Little Tigers didn't waste any time meting out punishment, putting together a 13-play, 71-yard scoring march on their first possession of the season.
Bruising 6'1, 210-pound senior running back Doug Borchert delivered some of the biggest blows, rambling for 47 yards on the drive as PHS jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the sweltering afternoon.
Borchert went on to punish the Spartans all day long, rushing for 180 yards and three touchdowns and recovering three fumbles from his linebacker spot.
Utilizing its smash-mouth style and opportunistic play, PHS built a 27-7 lead by halftime. The Little Tigers left the field pumping their fists and waving their helmets while the Spartans trudged off with their heads hanging.
In the second half, PHS closed the deal, grinding out first down after first down and posting a late safety for good measure to put the finishing touches on a 29-7 rout.
Afterward, a sweaty and still focused Borchert said that PHS hit the field determined to show Steinert that things had change drastically since the Spartans manhandled PHS 20-0 in last year's season opener.
"They really took it to us last year; we knew that Steinert was physical so we had to come out and punch them in the mouth," said Borchert.
"Our line played the best it has played in two years. The credit goes to the line. They blocked tremendously today and I just followed the blocks."
In the process, PHS made a statement to more than just Steinert. "This is the message this year to the CVC," asserted Borchert. "We are a power football team and we will mush you in the mouth."
PHS' domination was the product of a lot of toil. "To play with a big strong team, we had to work hard in the winter, off-season, and the pre-season," said Borchert. "We probably have done the most conditioning this year than in my entire high school career."
PHS head coach Steve Everette sees Borchert as the epitome of the work ethic permeating this year's squad. "Doug Borchert is a prime example of the dedication and hard work," asserted Everette.
"That kid didn't miss a weight room session in the off-season. It's his time; it's his team, He's one of our leaders. He puts the team on his back and says let's go; this is the way we do it."
The Little Tigers are clearly doing things differently than last fall when they started out 0-4 before a late-season surge brought them to a 4-6 final record.
"Our kids are just different this year; we are a very physical team," said Everette, whose club outgained Steinert 221-111 in rushing yards.
"We are a very fundamental team. It's a credit to what our kids did in the off-season that we were able to go out and block these kids. That's what football is it's blocking and tackling. We were able to block and tackle a little bit today."
One of the key weapons in PHS' arsenal was the basic counter play, which it ran to perfection all afternoon long. "If it ain't broke don't fix it," laughed Everette when reminded that PHS went to the play time and time again.
"We get our blocks and our backs make the right moves and we just take whatever we can. We're going to take five yards, move the chains, and kill the clock."
Of course, that style only works with a good offensive line and Everette heaped praise on his horses in the trenches. "Joe Giacalone is our center and makes all the line calls," said Everette, noting that the graduation of elusive record-breaking running back Alexz Henriques has led PHS to adopt its straight-ahead style. "Tom Hines, Jordan Simpson, Peter Murphy, and Joe Cifelli all did well."
The Little Tigers got some good play on the defensive line as they stymied the Spartans.
"Our defense got to fly around a little bit and we forced some turnovers," added Everette. "Their spread offense is a kind of rhythm offense and we got them out of it."
With a solid corps of seniors leading the way, Everette is hoping that PHS can maintain the rhythm it showed last Saturday. "Our senior class was very disappointed last year," said Everette, whose team is next in action when it plays at Nottingham on September 15.
"Our goal now is to win our division and find a way to get into the playoffs. That's our job. When we came up short last year, that got the kids focused. From the 6:30 workouts to classes, and to our code of conduct; we want to be better in every way."
Borchert, for his part, believes PHS will be relentless in pursuit of its goals. "We have dedicated kids, hard working kids," maintained Borchert. "We are going to pound it down the field. We had a couple of long drives today that tired their defense. That's how we do it this year."
If Borchert and PHS can keep doing it like they did last Saturday, it could end up being a very special year.
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