PRINCETON — The Oak Hill Red Devils were expecting Princeton to run the ball on Friday.
So the Tigers passed it. A lot.
Grant Cochran completed 19 of his 23 throws, and nine Tigers caught passes for a total of 293 yards as Princeton outplayed Oak Hill 55-30 at Anne S. Hunnicutt Stadium.
The Tigers are now 3-0, a record they haven’t had in 16 years.
“We did a lot of good things,” said Princeton head coach Chris Pedigo. “We know we’ve got a good quarterback. We spread the ball out really good tonight.”
Oak Hill head coach Dave Moneypenny said, “They’re very well coached and they have some great players. … They’re a really, really good football team.”
Princeton made an airtight argument in favor of that claim from the outset of the game, soon after the fans paid tribute on First Responder Appreciation Night.
Dominick Collins ran the opening kickoff 89 yards to get the scoring started. After forcing an Oak Hill punt, the Tigers marched 76 yards in eight plays for a 14-0 lead, generating five first downs en route.
Red Devil senior Leonard Farrow took over the game for parts of the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on runs of 13 and 76 yards to bring the visitors within 21-14.
Cochran countered with scoring passes of 41 and 35 yards, and running back Brodee Rice tallied the first of his two rushing touchdowns to put Princeton ahead by 20 at halftime, 34-14.
Cochran was looking to send a message after going 2-for-8 passing in last week’s squeaker of a win over Bluefield. He said that sowed “a lot of doubt in our pass game.”
“We just came out and showed that we can do both (run and pass),” he said. “We knew they (Oak Hill) would game-plan against our run … so that opened up a lot of spots in their defense.”
He had help in exploiting the pass defense.
He said, “I had trust in my guys and they had faith in me. I got it to them and they did the rest from there.”
“As long as we’re winning, that’s all I really care about,” he said.
A foul-filled third quarter gave way to a final period in which the teams combined to score 30 points, but the Princeton lead was never in serious jeopardy. The second half included four fumbles — all of them resulting in turnovers.
Elijah Gray, a reserve running back for Oak Hill, peeled off a series of big runs late and ended with 122 rushing yards. Farrow led all ground gainers with 130 yards on 11 carries.
Jordan Cooper, who took over for Cochran late in the game, completed 3 of 4 passes for 28 yards.
The Red Devils (1-2) rushed for 381 yards but completed just one pass for five yards. The Princeton squad ran 27 times for 103 yards. The offenses of the two schools combined for 782 yards.
Pedigo said there are defensive breakdowns for which he is responsible.
“We gave up way too much,” the coach said. “We played soft edges. We’ve got to fix it.”
“We’ve got a lot of things we can clean up, and we could be even better,” he said. “But all in all, we’ll take the win.”
Moneypenny said, “They just played better than us tonight. … Our kids play extremely hard. They’re not going to quite. I’ve just got to do a better job of preparing them and getting them ready.”
The Tigers are scheduled to continue their homestand next Friday, playing Linsly School from Wheeling. The Red Devils are slated to host Lincoln County next Friday night.
OH (1-2) 0 14 0 16 — 30
P (3-0) 14 20 7 14 — 55
PSHS — Dominick Collins 89 kickoff return (Casey Geso kick), 11;46
PSHS — Peyton Clemons 25 pass from Grant Cochran (Geso kick), 4:19
OH — Leonard Farrow 13 run (kick failed), 11:53
PSHS — Peyton Clemons 41 pass from Cochran (Geso kick), 10:13
OH — Farrow 76 run (Ethan Vargo-Thomas pass from Jacob Ward), 9:31
PSHS — Brodee Rice 18 run (Geso kick), 4:35
PSHS — Noah Basham 35 pass from Cochran (kick failed), 0:56.8
PSHS — Brodee Rice 6 run (Geso kick), 3:35
PSHS — Khamrin Proffitt 2 run (Geso kick), 10:43
PSHS — J.J. Spriggs 2 run (Saeed Aboulhosn kick), 8:47
OH — Trenton Rider 7 run (Elijah Gray run), 6:04
OH — Gray 40 run (Malachi Lewis run), 0:19
RUSHING — Oak Hill, Omar Lewis 13-51, Ethan Vargo-Thomas 4-28, Leonard Farrow 11-130, Elijah Gray 4-122, Trenton Rider 5-51, Jacob Ward 4-(-1). Princeton, Brodee Rice 8-50, J.J. Spriggs 6-33, Jacob Young 3-16, Khamrin Proffitt 2-11, Dominick Collins 1-4, Noah Basham 1-(-2), Grant Cochran 5-(-9).
PASSING — Oak Hill, Ward 1-4-5-0-0. Princeton, Cochran 19-23-265-3-0, Jordan Cooper 3-4-28-0-0.
RECEIVING — Oak Hill, Braylon Thomas 1-5. Princeton, Jon Wellman 3-37, Dominick Collins 5-67, Peyton Clemons 4-55, Brodee Rice 1-11, Noah Basham 2-33, Connor Padgett 1-8, Amarvion Howard 1-7, Khamrin Proffitt 2-43, Carter Meachum 1-12.