By Mike Myers
WASHINGTON — The Washington Hatchets’ offense got untracked in a big way at Hatchet Hollow on Friday.
Unfortunately for the home team, the Princeton Tigers’ offense did the same thing.
Jaden Arvin recorded the third best performance running the football in Hatchet history but it wasn’t enough, as Princeton remained perfect on the season with a 60-34 win over Washington in Big 8 Conference action.
Arvin, who topped 100 yards rushing in last week’s loss at Evansville Bosse, was well past that figure at the half against Princeton (3-0, 1-0). Arvin finished with 318 yards on 27 carries and touchdown runs of 29 and 20 yards in the first quarter. That rushing total leaves Arvin behind only Trey Parsons (327 yards in a 2011 game) and Joe McCormick (322 yards in a 2010 game) in Hatchet history for most yards rushing in a game.
And Arvin wasn’t alone. Quarterback Jake Brashear also topped the century mark on the ground with 108 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard scoring sprint in the fourth quarter. Brashear added an eight-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Edrwin Revolorio netted 58 yards on 15 carries and added a three-yard run to pay dirt in the third quarter.
Overall, Washington (0-3, 0-2) gained 481 yards on the ground. The Hatchet backs benefitted from an offensive line – tight end Max Lancaster, tackles Kirk Crecelius and Jeff Harrawood, guards James Sidebottom and Cameron Meade, and center Daniel Davis - which time and again opened massive holes in the Tiger defense. The Hatchets gained just 10 yards through the air, meaning Princeton was sitting on the WHS ground game throughout the contest, making the Hatchets’rushing totals all that more impressive.
“With our inability at this point to throw the ball very much, teams are just … in the second half, they had seven men on the line, sometimes eight men on the line with two linebackers,” said Washington coach Kelly Brashear. “Once we get to the second level, it’s green pasture. But I thought even though they had seven or eight men on the line we were still able to block them man for man and gain yardage.”
But Princeton was able to match the Hatchets score for score and then some. Quarterback Colton Wilder directed the Tigers’ no huddle, spread attack to the tune of 654 yards and eight touchdowns. Wilder completed 12-23 passes for 294 yards and six touchdowns, with wideout Austin Clark counting five touchdown receptions among his six catches and 114 yards receiving. Wilder completed scoring passes of 11, 13, 10, 10, and 63 yards to Clark plus a 55-yard strike to JaVon Wilkerson.
Running back Deon Hardiman did the damage on the ground, rushing for 321 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Hardiman’s scoring runs of 89 and 80 yards on successive possessions in the fourth quarter helped put the game out of reach for the Hatchets.
The big play was the Hatchets’ worst enemy as the Tigers recorded 10 plays of 20 yards or more, four of which ended with Princeton in the WHS end zone. The heat and lack of rest hurt the Hatchet defense, which has several players going both ways. Several Washington players missed snaps in the second half due to leg cramps.
“I know it’s being redundant, I keep saying it week after week, but it’s tough on those kids, especially in this heat. Maybe it will be a little bit better when it cools off,” said Brashear. “But right now, when it’s hot and humid and you’re sweating so profusely and losing all those fluids faster than you can put them back in you end up in cramps and that type of thing like we did tonight.”
Tackling was also an issue for the Hatchets according to Brashear.
“I was proud that were in position to make plays tonight, we just didn’t finish plays,” said Brashear. “Time and time again, we had kids stopped for no gain or maybe a one or two yard gain, but we didn’t finish the tackle, and then they break lose and go 80 yards for a touchdown. Tackling, finishing plays, finishing tackles, is going to be a point of emphasis next week.”
Princeton led 16-13 after one quarter, but the Hatchets took a 20-16 lead early in the second quarter on Brashear’s first rushing touchdown of the night. The Hatchets appeared to have Princeton stopped cold on the Tigers’ next possession, but a fake punt and pass completion from punter Michael Kermode to Mason Rode kept the ball in Princeton’s hands. Wilder finished off the drive with a 13-yard pass to Clark for a 24-20 Tiger lead, a margin which reached 31-20 when Wilder and Clark hooked up again just :10 before halftime. Princeton led 46-28 after three quarters of action.
The Hatchets travel to North Daviess on Friday looking to defend their possession of the Times Herald Highway 57 Helmet.