11/22/09 — Princeton keeps dream alive

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Princeton keeps dream alive

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 22, 2009 1:50 AM

PRINCETON -- The dream continues.

Don't dare wake up Russell Williamson, either.

The Princeton head football coach emphatically thrust his fist into the air as the final horn sounded on his team's 21-13 victory over Hobbton on Friday evening. The fourth-seeded Dawgs earned a western regional semifinal date with reigning state champion Mt. Airy in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A (small-school) playoffs.

No Princeton team has been this far since 1979 when it lost to Robbinsville in the state championship.

"I don't even know what to say at this point," said an emotional Williamson. "The only thing I can do is give all the credit to my players. They work hard each week and they have given us great effort each game."

Hobbton entered with a six-game win streak and looked to continue its momentum in the opening minutes of the first quarter. After Princeton punted on its first series, the Wildcats capped a 58-yard touchdown drive with Xavier Thompson's 2-yard plunge.

The Dawgs' offense faltered on their next two possessions as the teams adjusted their respective game plans. Princeton tied the game at 7-7 when quarterback David Gurganus hooked up with Dillon Daughtry for a 35-yard scoring strike.

"We saw that (Hobbton) was dropping a lot of guys in coverage and chasing the routes over the middle," said coach Williamson. "We didn't change our plays, but we made some adjustments."

Tied at 7-7 after one half, Princeton found its rhythm.

On the second play from scrimmage, Gurganus found Patrick Jacobs streaking over the middle and state's leading receiver made a beautiful catch as he turned upfield. Jacobs avoided the last defender and turned the play into a 68-yard touchdown.

Riding the momentum, the Dawgs' defense got a quick stop and got the team the ball back. Gurganus orchestrated a four-minute drive that ended with the senior signal caller scampering four yards into the end zone.

Hobbton pulled within one touchdown when Elias Chestnutt raced into the end zone from seven yards out. Princeton's defense stiffened and shut out the Wildcats in the fourth quarter.

"We knew that we would have to play disciplined defense against their wing-T," said Williamson. "Our kids made enough plays to keep (Hobbton) going sideline to sideline."

Gurganus completed 17 passes for 271 yards and two TDs. Jacobs finished with nine receptions for 158 yards. Javontae Davis emerged the Dawgs' leading rusher with 21 yards on six carries.

Next is a trip to "Mayberry" -- the fictional television town based on MT. Airy which was made famous by Tar Heel native Andy Griffith.

"Mount Airy is a great football team and we know how tough they are going to be," said Williamson. "But we have a chance to play another game, and there are not many teams that can say that at this point."