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Rivalry fires up Boilermakers

KEWANEE - Two old friends met on the gridiron Friday night at Kewanee. But it wasn’t quite like old times.

The Kewanee Boilermakers, which had dropped their past five meetings with Princeton and eight out of the last nine, beat the Tigers, 36-0. It was their first win over the Tigers since a 19-7 win in 2004.

The game marked the 115th meeting between the longtime rivals dating back to 1897, but the first since 2009. With the win, Kewanee brought home the traveling trophy that goes to the victors each year. It pulls the Boilermakers within one game in the all-time series, the fourth oldest rivalry in the state, PHS now retains a slim 46-45-4 lead.

Kewanee (4-1) has been the surprise of the Three Rivers Athletic Conference, now standing 3-0 in the South Division. Princeton fell to 0-5, 0-3.

The Boilermakers took the lead for good early in the first quarter. David Washburn connected with Jared Nimrick for a 6-yard pass at the 7:30 mark to cap a 9-play, 56-yard scoring drive.

They made it 14-0 on an 1-yard dive by 30, culminating a 7-play, 66-yard drive with 1:17 to go in the first quarter.

Austin Vernyck scored times in the second quarter in front of the Kewanee Homecoming crowd to make it 33-0.

He took a pitch 45 yards for one score, then went in from 10 yards before collecting a 70-yard pass play from Washburn.

Kewanee dominated the first half, holding Princeton to a scant two yards rushing, 57 by passing. On the offensive end, Kewanee tallied 203 rushing and 151 passing.

By the end of the game, PHS had tallied 111 yards; Kewanee 463.

A fourth-quarter field goal by the Boilers capped the score at 36-0.

Tiger tales: Kewanee cooled off PHS (3-2, 2-1) in the sophomore contest, defeating the Kittens 18-6. Luke Marselle scored the lone PHS touchdown early in the fourth quarter. ... PHS returns home next week against Fulton.

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