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.”