PRINCETON — That was Sterling Newman football.
After what coach Mike Papoccia deemed a farce in a 21-9 season-opening loss to Rockridge, the Comets showed Princeton what Newman football was really about. The Comets scored six times in the first half and thrice more in the second en route to a resounding 61-7 victory over the host Tigers at Bryant Field
The Comets racked up 328 yard rushing, including 134 yards on 10 carries by Jake Snow. Newman did not have a single penalty and was so dominating on offense, it had no need to punt.
Papoccia addressed his team at midfield and told them if they were satisfied with the win Friday, it would be all over.
“As soon as you’re satisfied, you’re done for,” said Papoccia, a veteran of 34 football seasons with four state championships at Newman. “We’ve got to continue to improve. We’ve got some really good teams yet to play of course, We’ve got to play better. We played pretty well tonight, but we’ve got to play better. but for now, the improvement from last week to this week is night and day. We’re happy, but we’re not satisfied.”
Snow fell over Bryant Field for touchdowns on Newman’s opening three possessions of the game on carries of 2, 2 and 14 to give the Comets a 21-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Elliott Jensen tacked on two scores of his own and Allen caught a 15-yard TD from A.J. Sharp with 19 seconds left in the half to give the Comets a 40-7 halftime bulge.
“We played with more passion, a lot more passion,” Papoccia said. “Every block and tackle last week was a farce I would say. The kids are the ones to commend here. They came out and didn’t hesitate. They could have said, ‘Oh gosh, we’re going to play like last week’, or second thoughts like that, but they didn’t. They came out and played very hard. I’m proud of them.”
Mike Ely’s 7-yard run with 10:32 to play in the third quarter put the running clock into effect for the rest of the second half.
Senior J.J. Vaccaro, who did not play as a junior, was a bright light on offense for the Tigers. He snagged a 38-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jake Reinhardt, setting up his own 2-yard score two plays later at the 1:47 mark of the second quarter.
“He’s a good kid. Works hard, very athletic. Played really well for us tonight,” PHS coach Jesse Snyder said.
While the Tigers rushing attack was limited to 37 yards on 24 attempts, Snyder saw some positives with their passing game. Reinhardt drew the starting assignment at quarterback Friday, completing 11 of 25 attempts for 89 yards.
“We threw the ball well,” he said. “We’ve got to make adjustments upfront with our protection. Got to make sure we’re calling out our blocking assignments.”
Snyder said the Tigers just have to continue to work hard in practice.
“We’ve just got to come out and work against each other a little bit harder, push each other and see if we can get better every day. (Get) success one day, one quarter at a time and continue to build,” he said.
• Tiger tales: Friday’s game was the Comets’ first visit to Bryant Field since 1980, a game won by the Tigers 20-8. Newman took the teams’ last meeting in 1981 at Sterling, 20-2. The Meteors sneaked away with a 9-0 win in the sophomore prelim. This was the new TRAC rivals first meeting since 1981.