09/17/11 — Touchdown before halftime wakes up Bulldogs

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Touchdown before halftime wakes up Bulldogs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 17, 2011 11:05 PM

PRINCETON -- The belief returned just before halftime.

Flushed from the pocket and trying to avoid a linebacker, Princeton quarterback Brad Williamson spotted Forrest Stewart's blue jersey in the midst of East Carteret defenders.

Williamson zipped a pass to his 6-foot-1 tight end, who caught the ball and tip-toed down the sideline toward the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown. The short scoring march boosted the Bulldogs' confidence and provided the springboard to a 28-7, non-conference victory on an unseasonably, cool and rainy Friday evening at the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex.

"We really got a break there," said Princeton head coach Russell Williamson. "That helped give our kids a little confidence. I think they were struggling with their confidence early in the game."

No doubt.

The Mariners (1-4 overall) constantly disrupted the Bulldogs' offense in the opening half. They controlled the line of scrimmage and recorded eight tackles for loss.

"I think their defense kind of caught us by surprise, they were a little better than I thought they would be," said Williamson. "We were having a hard time up front the first half. It's hard to get going when people are three yards in your backfield.

"It took us a little while to get used to it."

Muffed punt snaps set up each team's first touchdown.

East Carteret struck first on Ty Mason's 11-yard touchdown pass to Turner Miller midway through the first quarter. Princeton knotted the contest at 7-7 on Adryan Joyner's 4-yard dive and Ryne Woodard's PAT.

Jake Sullivan's second interception of the night set up the Dogs' go-ahead score just before halftime. Mariners defensive end Xavier Fallin sacked Brad Williamson for a 10-yard loss and Williamson completed a pass for zero yards on the next play.

On third down, Williamson felt the pressure from the backside and unloaded his scoring pass to Stewart, who finished off the play.

"I told the coaches that was huge," said coach Williamson. "We made some adjustments at halftime, nothing major, but we did change our guard play. The second half we came out and played better."

Davis, the area's leading rusher and receiver, tallied short touchdown runs of 2 and 1 yards in the third and fourth quarter, respectively. The 5-10, 162-pounder ended the night with a hard-earned 85 yards on 21 totes.

Princeton (2-3) limited East Carteret to 31 yards of total offense in the second half, and 81 for the game. Sullivan and Tyler Craft picked off two passes apiece for the Bulldogs, who improved to 5-4 against Coastal Plains 1-A Conference teams since 2004.

Phillip Harris paced the defense with 12 stops.

"Man, he had a great game," Williamson said of Harris. "We put him some different positions. He's got decent speed. I don't know how many tackles he had for loss, but it seemed like he was in the backfield all night."