Princeton gets a kick-start against Hall

PRINCETON – Princeton wasn’t about to kick the ball to Mac Resetich to start Friday night’s game at Bryant Field.

The Tigers kicked the ball short, well in front of the Hall standout, just over the Hall front line, and recovered the ball at midfield.

The Tigers scored four plays later, only 45 seconds into the game.

And then they did it again.

This time, the Tigers recovered the short kick on the Hall 34 and scored again in four plays. Princeton led by 14 points less than two minutes into the game and before the big crowd barely had a chance to sit down.

Hall never recovered from the early blow, falling behind by 28 points at the end of the first quarter and 40 points at halftime with a running clock in play over the second half as the Tigers ran away with a 55-20 victory in the Three Rivers Conference Mississippi Division game.

“I thought we set the tone from the get-go. Obviously, special teams came in really big for us tonight,” Tigers coach Ryan Pearson said. “Absolutely a great job by our kickoff team, going down and getting those two kicks. They weren’t designed onside kicks. We just did not want 4 (Resetich) to touch it. We were just trying to kick it to the open spot and make sure Resetich did not touch it. That kid is electric and obviously showed why once he touched it [later].”

Princeton senior Augie Christiansen, who scored three running touchdowns and another one by receiving, said things couldn’t have started any better for the Tigers.

“That whole first quarter we had momentum from those first couple kicks. That just really got us going,” he said. ‘That was our whole game plan not to kick it to Resetich. You saw what happened when we did. We were going to take advantage as much as we could and capitalized on both those.”

Hall coach Randy Tieman said the kickoffs put the Red Devils’ backs against the wall.

“You don’t expect those things to happen. You expect a kid to catch the ball,” he said. “It’s having young kids in positions and it’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to have growing pains.

“They’re [Princeton] very talented, and we know where we’re at. We came over and said we just want to give it our best shot.”

Quarterback Teegan Davis (20-yard run) and Christiansen (15 yards) had the honors on the first two Tiger scores.

Both scored again before the quarter was out to make it 28-0.

Davis went to the air in the second quarter, connecting with Christiansen (12 yards) and Danny Cihocki (24) to send the Tigers to a 42-0 lead.

Resetich showed why the Tigers wanted to no part of him to start the game by racing off with the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to pay dirt to put the Red Devils on the board with 3:26 left in the half. Resetich passed for the conversion to make it 42-8.

Davis followed Resetich’s play with a highlight reel of his own, racing and spinning through the Hall defense for a 48-yard score less than a minute later to ensure the running clock would go in play to start the second half with the Tigers leading by 40 (48-8).

“I would like to say that’s all coaching, but we all know that’s not,” Pearson said. “That was a pretty special play. He sees things out on the field that a lot of guys don’t. He’s a special player.”

Christiansen raced off to open the second half with a 65-yard TD romp on a play he said they talked about at halftime.

“The whole time at halftime we said one block was all we need and that play’s going to hit. Sure enough, Payne Miller had that one block and there was nobody in front of me,” he said,

Christiansen admitted he used up all the gas he had left in his tank, finishing with 112 yards rushing and three touchdowns to go with his TD reception.

“I definitely maxed out. That was my point where I was, ‘OK, I’m going to need a break,’ and then coach Pearson said we were done. It worked out,” he said.

With the game well decided, trailing 55-8, Hall scored two late touchdown passes from Resetich to Joseph Bacidore.

Christiansen said it will be a especially memorable win for the Princeton seniors.

“We still got a long way to go. We’ve got to go one game at a time. I think for now it’s a good win to think about it, especially us seniors. We’re probably not going to play Hall again,” he said.

Pearson said winning their Three River Mississippi opener was a nice start in their defense of the conference championship.

“We want to focus on the task at hand. We knew there was going to be a good crowd for Homestead weekend and all the festivities,” he said. “We wanted to come and play well against our very close rival and take care of business. We’re going to go in an have some fun in the parade [Saturday], and we’re right back to business at Mendota next week.”