Princeton drops heart-breaker to Dixon
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 5, 2008 1:12 PM
PRINCETON -- Princeton nearly ran its two-minute offense to perfection Thursday evening.
Except for one thing -- the Dawgs couldn't avoid the yellow flag.
Costly penalties shackled the Dawgs on their final possession of the game and led to a disappointing 7-6, non-conference loss to Holly Ridge Dixon at the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex.
"The kids did a great job," said Princeton head coach Russell Williamson. "They could have quit tonight, but they didn't."
Held to one first down through three quarters, Princeton (1-2 overall) found its rhythm on its final drive. Junior quarterback Dylan Myers completed five consecutive passes to move the Dawgs to Dixon's 33-yard line.
After a penalty pushed the ball inside the visitors' red zone, Myers rolled out of the pocket and fired a 19-yard scoring strike to Phillip Mitchell in the right corner of the end zone. But the Dawgs' celebration quickly faded when they saw the yellow flags which dotted the turf.
Princeton was called for holding.
Flags flew again as the Dawgs' coaching staff committed an unsportsmanlike penalty. But Williamson's team tried one more time as Myers completed back-to-back passes, which put the ball on Dixon's 19-yard line.
"We had them on their heels a little bit," said Williamson of Myers' passing. "We just got in the right combinations and routes. The quarterback and receivers did a good job checking off into some stuff.
"That helped us out."
But on Myers' second completion, officials -- again -- threw another flag. A chop-block among the interior linemen led to another sizable loss. Myers threw two straight incompletions and Dixon ran out the clock for just its third, non-conference regular-season victory since 2004.
The Dawgs finished with a season-high 17 flags for 147 yards, nearly double their total offensive output (82 yards) during the 48-minute contest.
"I just don't know," said a disgusted Williamson. "We stuck it the end zone, but we just had a penalty. There's not a whole lot I can say about it ... can't say what I want to."
Dixon quarterback Chris Lawson orchestrated a seven-play, 61-yard touchdown drive to break the scoreless deadlock in the second quarter. His 29-yard pass to Tyler Johnson and Kodey Kroger's successful PAT gave the visitors a 7-0 advantage.
Princeton answered in the third quarter.
Junior lineman Chris Hill intercepted Lawson and returned the ball to Dixon's 9-yard line. Hill ended up with six tackles, a quarterback sack and a fumble to go along with his pick.
Two plays later, Jeremy Carmichael bullied his way in from the 5 yards out to make it 7-6. But the Dawgs missed the PAT.
"Our kicking game has struggled some, but we're going to get better," said Williamson. "We're working on it and hopefully by the end of the year, it will be OK."
Princeton managed just seven yards rushing on 19 carries. Myers completed 11 of 27 passes for 75 yards. Benton Myers and Dillon Daughtry led the receiving corps with 29 and 21 yards, respectively.
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