11/11/10 — Princeton playoff preview

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Princeton playoff preview

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 11, 2010 1:47 PM

Princeton head football coach Russell Williamson was a little bit surprised when his team was selected to play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A Midwest Region playoffs on Friday night.

The Dogs were the last squad seeded in the 32-team field. They'll travel to Tri-County member Lakewood, which is the No. 1 seed in the region. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Williamson is definitely not about to turn down the opportunity to give his young team more experience.

"It's the nature of what we have with the playoff system being the way it is," said Williamson. "There are a lot of two-win and three-win teams in the bracket and for us it's another week to work with our young players and try to get better."

Princeton (2-9 overall) defeated North Moore in the second week of regular-season play, and turned back North Duplin in its second conference game of the season.

Since then, the Dogs have been in a tailspin. They've dropped three in a row to perennial heavyweights Goldsboro and Ayden-Grifton; and archrival Rosewood. Those three teams have combined to outscore Williamson's club 126-19.

Lakewood (7-4) carry a modest, two-game win streak into the postseason, including a 34-31 win over state-ranked Pender.

"Lakewood is a really good team and they do a lot of things well," said Williamson. "They have an experienced quarterback and a pair of receivers that like to hook up so they can move the ball in big chunks."

When Princeton has the ball, the Dawgs will employ their signature spread formation attack. There are questions surrounding who will start under center this week. Austin Jacobs has taken the snaps in the absence of Brad Williamson, who continues to recover from a knee injury.

Williamson could play against the Leopards.

"We will have to wait and see how it goes at practice on Wednesday and Thursday," said coach Williamson. "Brad has been moving a little bit better the last two days, but we certainly want to protect him and not put him in any bad spots."

A sophomore, Williamson has thrown for 908 yards and six touchdowns. Javontae Davis has rushed for 964 yards on 163 totes.