08/29/09 — Gurganus has record-setting night for Dawgs

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Gurganus has record-setting night for Dawgs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 29, 2009 11:23 PM

PRINCETON -- The old Princeton High football ghosts hung around and wreaked havoc for nearly one half Friday evening.

Penalties, dropped passes and inconsistent blocking served as haunting reminders for a program that has experienced much success during the past decade.

Then, someone let the Dawgs out and they quickly chased the menacing ghouls into the darkness surrounding the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex. David Gurganus completed a touchdown pass just before halftime and ignited a come-from-behind, 33-14 victory over North Moore.

"The old Princeton ... that was in our minds," said Gurganus. "A couple of years ago, they'd get down on each other. We were fussing and bickering (tonight), but in the second half, we were picking everybody up and going after it.

"We were getting the bad plays out of our mind."

Princeton improved to 2-0 for the first time since the late 1990s when Harvey Brooks roamed the sidelines and Travis Rawlings was the featured back in the single-wing offense.

Gurganus established career highs for completions (26), attempts (46), yards (359) and touchdown passes (4). He spread the yardage among six different receivers in the three-hour, non-conference affair. It was the first 300-yard passing effort by a Princeton quarterback since the 2002 season.

"Good God," exclaimed Princeton coach Russell Williamson of Gurganus' passing numbers.

The Dawgs misfired on their first eight offensive possessions, converted no third-down situations and used just 81/2 minutes off the clock in the first half. Two touchdowns were called back due to penalties.

A fumble and fumbled punt snap set up North Moore's two touchdowns. Quarterback Xavier Scotton threw a 72-yard bomb to Sean Gilmore, who was ejected just before halftime. Scotton's 35-yard run on a fourth-down, fake punt attempt set up Jamar Brower's 18-yard TD scamper.

"It just seemed like we weren't mentally focused the first half, penalties killed us, turned the ball over and gave up two big plays on defense ... weren't doing anything right," said Williamson. "We were moving the ball in the first half, but were shooting ourselves in the foot."

Gurganus' 11-yard scoring toss to Benton Myers put the Dawgs on the board and started a 33-point run. The TD capped a nine-play, 82-yard drive -- Princeton's longest possession of the night.

The Dawgs needed just 21/2 minutes to corral the Mustangs in the third quarter.

Working in an efficient manner behind a confident offensive line, Gurganus hooked up with Matt Williamson on a 7-yard scoring toss early in the second half. Myers recovered a fumbled kickoff and the Gurganus-Williamson connection accounted for another 7-yard TD.

Gurganus completed 12 of 15 passes for 168 yards in the second half.

"When we got our screens working and caught passes, we kept going and moved the ball," said Gurganus. "Our momentum was up and our tempo was up. (Their) defense got tired and our offensive line, which is in shape, was blocking better."