Rosewood gets 20th straight win over Princeton
By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on November 6, 2005 2:32 AM
None of the current Rosewood players were even born the last time a Princeton football team beat the Eagles.
This year's squad made sure it stayed that way.
Josh Myers ran for a game-high 114 yards and two touchdowns and Devon Bennett added a pair of rushing TDs as Rosewood beat their archrivals 35-13 before a large crowd at Branch Pope Field on Friday night.
It was the Eagles' 20th straight win over Princeton.
"We had to win this game," said senior defensive standout Markas Brunson. "Or we'd hear about it the rest of our lives. This was a big win for us, Princeton's a good team."
Rosewood senior quarterback Brantley Ellis also ran for 55 yards and a touchdown and was 2-of-3 passing for 45 yards.
He said winning his final home game was special.
"It's been a tough year, but it feels great to win our last game on this field," Ellis said. "This is a great rivalry and you couldn't ask for a better way to wrap up the regular season."
The win secured a playoff spot for the Eagles, who will play at No. 1-seeded Wallace-Rose Hill (11-0) this Friday.
Princeton (0-11) actually outgained Rosewood (2-9) in total offense 321-306, plus had eight more first downs, but the Eagles benefited from six turnovers and a blocked punt as the home team took a 28-0 lead into halftime.
"The big plays, the turnovers and the blocked punt gave them a short field the whole first half and they made us pay," Princeton coach Russell Williamson said. "We played hard and had some opportunities, but the turnovers and mistakes killed us."
The Bulldogs fumbled the ball away on the third offensive play of the night, and Rosewood responded with a seven-play, 36-yard drive that Bennett finished with a three-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead just more than four minutes into the contest.
Rosewood senior defensive back Dave Martel intercepted a Patrick Gatewood pass on Princeton's next drive, setting the Eagles up at the Bulldog 33. A holding call and a 4-yard loss made it third-and-22 at the Princeton 46, but Ellis found Bennett for a 16-yard gain, then hit a diving Myers at the 1 yard line on a fourth-and-6 play.
Myers hauled in the ball, which popped up into the end zone when he hit the ground. Williamson called a timeout to argue that the pass should have been ruled incomplete, but received a personal foul penalty for his efforts.
The Eagles, however, couldn't punch the ball in as Princeton stuffed Ellis on four consecutive quarterback sneaks to take over on downs toward the end of the opening period.
The Bulldogs got some breathing room by pushing the ball out to the 26, but junior Clarence Toran blocked a Princeton punt and recovered the ball at the 10 to give the Eagles a short field again.
Ellis took it in on the next play to increase Rosewood's lead to 14-0 less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Princeton responded by putting together its longest drive to that point, but lost the ball on downs at the Rosewood 28 when the Eagles stuffed star running back Decarious Scarboro for a 1-yard loss on a fourth-and-3 play.
Scarboro finished with just 40 yards on 16 carries.
On the next play, Myers raced untouched for a 72-yard touchdown.
"I was very glad to get this victory," Rosewood coach Daniel Barrow said. "Defensively, we played well, our kicking game was solid and offensively, we scored 35 points with the help of the defense."
On its next drive, Princeton fumbled the ball away again at the Rosewood 30. A holding call hurt Rosewood again, but a 30-yard run by Bennett set the Eagles up at the 1. A false start and an ensuing block-in-the-back call against the Eagles after Myers had run for an apparent touchdown run, however, put the ball back at the 10. From there, Bennett scored his second TD of the night on a sweep to push Rosewood's lead to 28-0 at the intermission.
Bennett sustained a stinger in his left shoulder on the play when he dove into the end zone and didn't return. He finished with 51 yards on seven carries.
Rosewood went three-and-out on both of its third-quarter possessions, but Princeton couldn't capitalize as Martel intercepted his second pass of the end zone in the Rosewood end zone to end a long drive.
Gatewood, however, finally got the Bulldogs into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter as he found tight end Robert Franks for an 18-yard touchdown.
Gatewood was 8-of-23 passing for 158 yards with three interceptions and the touchdown pass, plus was the team's leading rusher with 84 yards on 21 carries. Franks had a game-high six catches for 131 yards, plus was 1-of-2 passing for 9 yards and ran for 9 yards on two attempts.
Princeton lost another fumble in the fourth quarter, but took advantage of a 14-yard punt by Rosewood and drove 50 yards on nine plays to cut the Eagles' lead to 28-13 with 6:16 to play. Gatewood hit Franks for a 31-yard gain on a fourth-and-10 play, completed a 12-yard pass to wideout Hunter Gurley to push the ball to Rosewood 4, then called his own number twice to get the visitors into the end zone.
Perhaps a bit frustrated by the long season, Gatewood got up and spiked the ball after his 2-yard quarterback sneak, drawing an unsportsman-like conduct penalty. The Bulldogs then missed the long extra-point try.
"The year has been a disappointment," an emotional Williamson said after the game. "If someone would have told me before the season started, as hard as we've worked, that we wouldn't win a game, I'd have told them they were crazy. I thought we would have won at least three, four, five games. I'm kind of shocked -- it's surprised me."
"Defensively, they gave us a short field and some momentum and we were able to put 28 points on the board in the first half. But didn't Princeton play so well in the second half?" Barrow said. "They got right back in it ... coach Williamson has done such a good job over there and they're a pretty good team."
Princeton lost the ball on downs on its next drive, and Rosewood put the game away with a six-play, 22-yard drive that Myers finished with a spectacular 15-yard run that rounded out the scoring. Princeton had bottled the junior up on the visitor's sideline, but Myers reversed field and weaved his way into the end zone.
The Bulldogs drove down to the Rosewood 17 in the final minute of the game, but Martel intercepted his third pass of the night at the 1 to end the game.
"It was a total team effort," Brunson said. "If we can stay together, I think we'll be all right in the playoffs."
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