PRINCETON — Forgive Danny Merritt if he’s a little hoarse today.
The Rosewood head JV football coach lost his voice from the excitement of an unbelievable, 26-22 comeback win over Carolina 1-A arch rival Princeton on Tuesday evening.
The Eagles successfully defended their league championship and concluded the year a perfect 8-0.
“I don’t have much of a voice left,” Merritt said. “It was a wild JV game. These kids really came a long way.”
Down 22-20 with 30 seconds left in regulation, the Eagles’ Matthew Wade caused a fumble that was recovered by John White. On a second-and-long play at the Bulldogs’ 23-yard line, quarterback Rocco Raper connected with John Thompson on a wheel route that turned into the game-winning touchdown.
Rosewood attempted an onside kick and Princeton started its final possession in excellent field position. The Eagles batted down a pass as time expired to preserve the comeback at Harvey Brooks Field.
Junior Christian Decatur broke a scoreless tie with a 81-yard lateral screen touchdown pass to Logan Merritt in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs moved in front 14-6 and held that advantage through halftime.
Merritt reeled in a 27-yard TD pass from Raper in the third quarter and Kameron Lamm provided the game-tying two-point conversion.
After another Princeton score, Lamm bulled his way over from the 3-yard line. The conversion failed, which left the Eagles down 22-20 and set the stage for White and Wade’s fourth-quarter heroics.
White emerged as the defensive leader with eight tackles. Merritt and Lamm recorded seven stops, while Wade ended up with six tackles.