Gerit Bock threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score as Princeton came away from Hatchet Hollow with a 24-7 win over Washington on Friday.
Bock threw for 270 yards on 13-25 passing as Princeton (1-2, 1-0) won the final Big 8 Conference grid matchup between the two schools before both the Tigers and Washington (0-3, 0-2) move on to the Pocket Athletic Conference next year.
Washington coach Jake Durnil didn’t hide his displeasure following the defeat, specifically citing his team’s lack of aggressiveness.
“I’m extremely disappointed. This is how I felt last year after the Princeton game,“ said Durnil. “For some reason we let Princeton play more aggressively than we do. Before the game we talked about being aggressive, we always talk about predator and prey. And we came out and were not aggressive.”
Bock scored the game’s first touchdown on a three-yard with 4:36 to play in the first quarter. Cole Hurt’s extra point gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Bock’s favorite target on the night was wideout Braden Matthews, who caught six balls for 160 yards. It was an 18-yard pass from Bock to Matthews 9:24 before halftime that, along with a Hurt point after, moved the lead to 14-0. That lead extended to 17-0 when Hurt connected for a 35-yard field goal with :40 left in the third quarter.
Trailing early hurt Washington’s game plan to run the ball and forced the Hatchets to the air.
“The first quarter offensively was not good. They shifted defensively, the gave us something different than I though they would. In the second quarter we caught our wind a little bit and started moving it,” said Durnil. “But then you get down in the second half, and you can’t run the ball the way you want to because you have to throw it because you’re behind.”
Washington’s lone scoring drive of the game began at the Tiger 37 following Hurt’s field goal when Seth Holtsclaw returned the Princeton kickoff 33 yards. Trey Reed drove the Hatchets to end zone in six plays, the final 14 yards coming on a completion to Jacob Carrico. Holtsclaw’s point after bought WHS to within 10 points at 17-7 with 10:46 left in the contest.
But Princeton went to work quickly on the next possession as Bock drove the Tigers 81 yards in five plays, the final 61 yards coming on a completion to Matthews. Hurt’s extra point put the Tigers back on top 24-7 with 8:44 left in the game.
Overall, Princeton outgained WHS 402-198. In addition to Matthews, Dominic Hardiman pulled in six Bock throws for 108 yards and Bock added 38 yards rushing. Ben Heidenreich led the 132-yard Princeton rushing attack with 91 yards on 15 carries.
Reed was the leading Hatchet ground gainer with 54 yards on 15 carries, followed by 31 yards on 11 carries by Dalton Ervin as Washington picked up 102 yards rushing. Reed was 10-26 through the air with one interception for 96 yards, totals which were depressed by several dropped passes. Ervin caught five balls for 38 yards, followed by three catches from Gage Memering for 19 yards. Carrico added two catches for 37 yards while Reece Durnil added a catch for two yards. On defense Brock Thurman recorded a sack of Bock for an eight-yard loss in the third quarter.
Durnil looked ahead to a week of practice to prepare to travel to Cougar Valley for a matchup with undefeated North Daviess on Friday when the Times Herald Highway 57 Trophy will be up for grabs. Washington currently has possession of the helmet after wins over the Cougars in each of the last three seasons.
“I told the boys after the game that I love each and every one of them, but we have to hold ourselves accountable, me included,’ said Durnil. “I look in the mirror every night and say ‘What can I do to make this team better?’ and that’s what I’ll do tonight. We have to come back Monday and figure this out because we’re just not a good football team right now and we have to play a 3-0 North Daviess football team next week. And I’ll guarantee you they’re looking for revenge from last year (a 28-24 Hatchet win).”
Before kickoff a moment of silence was held in memory of former Hatchet head football coach Joe Purichia, who passed away earlier in the day.