PRINCETON — It’s over.
The Princeton Tiger football team broke a 20-game losing streak in a big way Saturday, stampeding the Morrison Mustangs 35-7 at Bryant Field. The Tigers built a 28-0 halftime lead on the strength of four second-quarter touchdowns and Jacob “Bubba” Smith’s second touchdown run of the game capped the win in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers’ skid dated back to the 2011 season, their last victory coming in Week 7 over arch-rival Hall 35-28.
The win touched off a big celebration with the new student Blue Rush cheering section swarming the players from the north end zone.
“This win means a lot to my team and I,” PHS senior captain Tyler Clark said. “Since the start on the first day of the offseason, the team has been working hard for a chance of redemption. We were constantly reminded of last season’s 46-0 loss to Morrison, and we used that knowledge to our motivation during every weightlifting session and every summer practice we had. All that hard work finally paid off.
“We have never had the feeling of a winning environment and just getting the experience of the student section rushing the field and the community saying good job everywhere we go is an amazing accomplishment, and we look forward to keep on pushing for excellence.”
Junior quarterback Jake Reinhardt, who ran for one touchdown and threw for another, said the Tigers were looking for some respect.
“We came into the game with the mentality of nobody is going to dis our football program anymore. Also we were dead set on paying off coach Snyder’s hard work by getting his first win for him,” he said. “To get the job done on opening day really increases our spirits on the rest of the season. Now that we have won the first game I feel we have not only proven our point but we have also gained momentum for the rest of the season and years to come.”
Reinhardt and the Tigers took the first step toward respect when he raced 15 yards for the first score of the season. Tanner Kuhne, a member of the Tiger soccer team, added the PAT kick for the 7-0 lead with 9:55 remaining in the second quarter.
By halftime, the Tigers tacked on three more scores to go up 28-0.
Newcomer Kai Tomaszewski blazed a trail down the left sidelines for a 25-yard touchdown romp.
“Kai’s got quick feet outside,” PHS coach Jesse Snyder said. “He had some really nice cuts. He did a nice job seeing where those holes are and accelerating his feet,”
Smith, who led the Tiger ground game with 108 yards on 28 carries, scored on a four-yard run at the 5:34 mark of the second quarter.
Reinhardt hooked up with a hitch and go with Levi Bates for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 48 seconds to go before halftime.
“Levi did a really nice job setting his feet and getting back open. Jake put the ball right in front of him and (he) walked in,” Snyder said. “Jacob ran the ball really well and Jake did a nice job with the passing game. He did a good job with how reads on our three step staff and got the ball out quick.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence with a lot of the backs we have. We’re not missing a beat by rotating those guys in.”
Snyder said it was an exciting win for his team and one they earned
“They have been working a long time for this and that work paid off,” said Snyder, who notched his first win as head coach. “It was a huge win for our program. We’ve gone essentially two years without a win ... We can’t be satisfied with it. We’ve got to continue to strive for that success every week.”
• Tiger tales: PHS’ 20-game skid was the longest losing streak in school history. PHS lost 15 straight dating from Week 9 of the 1994 season through Week 6 in 1996. ... The Tigers won’t have long to celebrate with defending 2A champ Sterling Newman looming Saturday at Sterling High School. The Comets beat Rockridge 20-14 on Friday.
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