September 7, 2022

Unable to Slow Down Riverside Rushing Attack, PHS Football Loses 35-0 to Rams, Drops to 2-0

GOLD RUSH: Princeton High running back Tyler Goldberg looks to elude a Lawrence High defender. Last Saturday, PHS fell 35-0 to Riverside in its home opener. The Tigers, now 0-2, play at Haddon Township on September 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After it was over, the players on the Princeton High football team gathered together in the end zone, hanging their heads in dejection.

Entering its home opener against Riverside last Saturday, PHS was determined to bounce back from a frustrating 35-12 loss to Lawrence on August 26 to start the 2022 campaign.

Instead, the Tigers shot themselves in the foot, making a number of miscues on the way to a 35-0 loss to the Rams.

PHS head coach Charlie Gallagher acknowledged that his squad wasn’t sharp.

“Riverside played well and we had so many self-inflicted wounds — interceptions, missed tackles, fumbles, and bad penalties, you name it,” said Gallagher. “It was a big step backwards, that is disappointing. I take responsibility.”

The tide turned in Riverside’s favor when it got a safety late in the first quarter to go up 2-0 and then scored a touchdown on the next possession to extend the lead to 8-0.

“They ran the ball all over us, they run a tricky offense,” said Gallagher of the Rams, who got 175 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Ivan Ramos with John Boston running for 135 yards and a pair of scores. “Our people weren’t doing what they are supposed to do; there are places that defensive players need to look.”

PHS sophomore Travis Petrone made his first career start at quarterback in place of the injured Brady Collier and showed some potential.

“Travis played well, he had some nice plays,” said Gallagher of Petrone, who looked dangerous on option plays and also had some good connections through the air with Corey Woodson and Joe George. “He is an athlete. We are blessed to have Brady, we are blessed to have Travis.”

Sophomore wide receiver Woodson displayed his athleticism, making a couple of big grabs in the third quarter.

“Corey is a gamer and he does a good job,” said Gallagher. “He is serious, we have a lot of serious guys out here which is great.”

PHS is facing a serious challenge when it plays at Haddon Township (1-0 with a 33-16 win over Gateway in its season opener) on September 10.

“Our focus is to put this game to the side and then focus on Haddon Township,” said Gallagher. “We are going to review the Haddon film. We won’t even watch this film; Riverside did a great job so good for them. They had a formula like some teams have. Our formula is still a work in progress.”

Gallagher is looking forward to working with his young players to help them develop a winning formula.

“We are going to step up, it is next man up,” said Gallagher. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves because there is a game next week. We have to think about how we can get better and then we have to coach that young person up who is next in line. I love the coaching, we have to keep coaching them all of the time. They always have to be coached because we have a lot of inexperienced players.”

The younger players can also learn from the squad’s veterans.

“I want to get these seniors some wins, we have got some good seniors,” added Gallagher. “Ryan Friedman had a good game. Jack Callahan and Jake Richter also played well. Isiah Nazario had a really good game.”

For PHS to start getting some wins may require a little patience.

“You have a lot of players who are sophomores and had one year of JV and now two games of varsity,” said Gallagher. “I guess the expectation has to be tempered. I would like to think it is going to take no time but maybe it is going to take a little bit more time. That is OK.”