Web Edition

lead stories
other news



town talk


press releases


last week's issue

real estate
classified ads


(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Princeton High senior star Ben Guervil, left, reaches out for extra yardage in action earlier this season. Last Saturday, Guervil produced a career day to help lead PHS to a 26-20 win at Steinert. Guervil caught six passes for 156 yards, including a 71-yard game-winning touchdown. He also added a key fourth quarter interception and his booming punting kept Steinert at bay through much of the afternoon. The Little Tigers, now 1-2, play at Allentown on September 30.

Senior Star Guervil Makes the Big Plays As Inspired PHS Football Edges Steinert

By Bill Alden

Steve Everette didn't have to deliver a fire and brimstone pregame speech to pump up his Princeton High football team before its game last Saturday at Steinert.

As the Little Tigers got off their bus, they saw the balloons and signs that told them that their hosts were celebrating homecoming.

While the Spartans may have viewed 0-2 PHS as the easy pickings that every team hopes to devour on homecoming, the Little Tigers weren't about to cooperate.

"We didn't know it was their homecoming until we got off the bus," said Everette. “We saw all the balloons and the guys got really worked up. That did it; I didn't need to worry about motivation."

The inspired Little Tigers drew first blood, taking a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a four-yard touch pass from junior quarterback Johnny Mitko to senior tight end Frank Giacalone.

PHS built its lead to 13-0 early in the third quarter when Mitko hooked up again with Giacalone, this time on a 57-yard scoring strike. Then Steinert, not wanting to be a generous host, stormed back with 20 unanswered points to take a 20-13 lead.

With PHS looking at a third straight defeat, senior star receiver/defensive back Ben Guervil took matters into his own hands. The 6'2, 180-pound Guervil kept a PHS drive alive with a crucial fourth down grab.

After the Little Tigers pulled even at 20-20, Guervil produced the decisive play of the contest as he broke free on a 71-yard touchdown reception with just over four minutes left to give PHS a 26-20 lead.

In the waning moments of the game, Guervil picked off a Steinert pass and boomed a 46-yard punt to help snuff out the Spartans' comeback bid as PHS hung on for its first win of the season.

Everette tipped his hat to the all-around contribution of Guervil. "It was his most consistent game,” said Everette of Guervil, who ended the afternoon with six catches for 156 yards. "He had no dropped balls; he made some big catches. He realized that we needed him to make big plays and he came through."

Another PHS player coming through in a big way was the 5'7 quarterback Mitko who did his best imitation of Doug Flutie with his gutsy effort Saturday.

"He's played pretty well all year but everything came together for him against Steinert,” said Everette, reflecting on a day on which Mitko hit on 14-for-28 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns. "He's good at spreading the ball around; that makes us hard to defend."

The PHS defense also stepped up when it counted. "I think we've played pretty well defensively this year,” said Everette, whose club outgained Steinert 362 yards to 290.

"Ewing didn't get much on us and Lawrence has the best quarterback around. Against Steinert, we didn't give up the big plays; that made the difference.”

The fourth-year head coach is hoping that his club's win Saturday will help it develop a killer instinct. "I'm not sure if it's character or immaturity,” said Everette with a laugh, reflecting on his team's topsy-turvy play this fall.

"We got a lead of 13-0 and the other team comes roaring back. It's the second time in three games that we've blown a lead. I'm glad we were able to come back and get the win this time.”

Everette is hoping his team doesn't need to resort to drama to pull out a win this Friday night when it plays at Allentown.

"It's always a battle,” said Everette. "Last year was the first time we had beaten them in three years. Two years ago, we lost on a field goal in the last minute. They are always scrappy and well coached.”

If the Little Tigers can prevail in that battle, they will put themselves in the scrap for postseason play. "We have a good chance to get into the playoffs and show Central Jersey how good we are," added Everette. "But you know how youth is, what you think is going to happen doesn't always happen."


Website Design by Kiyomi Camp