Gallery by Greg Barnett
Princeton – Oak Hill head coach Davon Marion spent the last half decade on Princeton’s sideline as the defensive coordinator so he knew the many challenges his defense faced Friday evening.
The issue with picking your poison is that it’s still poison.
With the Red Devils committing double coverage to Princeton all-stater Dom Collins all evening, the Tigers turned to Marquel Lowe and Michael Diacomo who combined to score five of the team’s six touchdowns in their 42-28 victory against Oak Hill Friday at Hunnicutt Stadium.
Lowe led the charge with 148 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, adding a 70-yard touchdown reception as well. Diacomo hauled in four passes for 63 yards and two scores while Princeton QB Chance Barker was 10-of-13 passing for 150 yards, adding a rushing touchdown and 66 yards on the ground to the three scores he tossed.
Malachi Lewis threw for 122 yards and a touchdown, adding 77 yards and another score on the ground. J.D. Mauritz led the Red Devils with 95 yards and two scores on 17 carries.
For the Red Devils, containing Lowe was a challenge and backbreaking when they couldn’t with two of his scores flipping the momentum.
His first, the 70-yard touchdown reception, came on a third-and-15 swing pass to the left flat just over a minute into the game. His second score, an 80-yard jaunt, came immediately after Oak Hill worked its way to the Princeton 6, down 14-7 in the third quarter. A false start and an errant snap killed the drive and gave the Tigers the ball back, setting up Lowe’s second score.
“I knew they had athletes, I’ve been down here for the last six years,” Marion said. “I didn’t want Dominick to beat us and I watched what Bluefield did on tape and I liked what they had done. We just gave up several big plays and we’ve got to be able to tackle in space and get guys on the ground but we didn’t tonight so we’ll live with that, practice next week really hard and bounce back.”
“At the end of the day Davon Marion’s a great defensive coach,” Princeton head coach Keith Taylor said. “They had a great defensive gameplan and they whipped us up front but fortunately Marquel carried us offensively. We didn’t look good and had a bunch of penalties in a very sloppy game. So congrats to Oak Hill because they came out and a lot of times they wanted it more than we did.”
While the Tigers pulled away late, they struggled to build any cushion in a matchup of previously undefeated Class AAA squads.
Oak Hill got on the board in the second quarter when Mauritz found pay dirt from a yard out to knot the game, but Barker, who used his legs to keep drives alive throughout the rainy evening, answered when he capped an 11-play, 50-yard drive with his own 1-yard scoring plunge right before the half.
Lowe’s aforementioned 80-yard burst was the first shot to break the game open but Oak Hill QB Malachi Lewis led his squad on a 55-yard scoring drive, capping it with a 15-yard scoring strike to David Spaulding. But in a boat race the Tigers had more oars.
Barker led a pair of scoring drives in the final frame, connecting with Diacomo for touchdown passes of 5 and 17 yards to pushed the advantage to 35-14.
“I think we started to see some stuff at halftime,” Taylor said. “Obviously the bracket is the new defense on No. 5, Dom. So we’ve got to figure out ways to bust it. We thought the orbit motion would’ve helped and it didn’t. What we started to see and what we told Dom – Dom’s the best player in West Virginia and it’s hard when you can’t get the best player in the state the ball. I know it’s frustrating for him. He’s going through some stuff with having another touchdown called back and I think that’s like six on the year. But we started to see they had the safety shaded towards Dom so that’s three dudes. We knew we could get No. 3 (Lowe) the ball and (Kalum) Kiser had a huge run.”
The teams combined for three scores in the final three minutes with the game already in hand.
“Just alignments,” Marion said. “This is the first time in three weeks I’ve seen us get tired. Alignments were off and we still have a freshman starting and a 15-year-old sophomore starting on the d-line. We let some things get away and we’ll be better prepared next week. We’ll be better prepared, make better plays and we’ll see what happens.”
Oak Hill will host Lincoln County next week while Princeton hosts Pulaski, Va.
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OH: 0 7 7 14- 28
P: 7 7 7 21 – 42
P: Lowe 70 yard pass from Barker (Aboulhosn PAT)
OH: JD Mauritz 1 rush (Pino PAT)
P: Barker 1 rush (Aboulhosn PAT)
P: Lowe 80 rush (Aboulhosn PAT)
OH: David Spaulding 15 yard pass form Lewis (Pino PAT)
P: Diacomo 5 yard pass from Barker (Aboulhosn PAT)
P: Diacomo 17 yard pass from Barker (Aboulhosn PAT)
OH: Lewis 1 rush (Pino PAT)
P: Lowe 13 rush (Aboulhosn PAT)
OH: Mauritz 22 rush (Pino PAT)
Rushing – OH: Mauritz 17-95-2, Malachi Lewis 17-77-1, James Green 5-22, Tyler Ashmore 5-20; P: Marquel Lowe 13-148-2, Chance Barker 8-66-1, Kalum Kiser 1-37, Brad Mossor 3-13, Dom Collins 1-(minus-10)
Passing – OH: Lewis 14-24-122-1TD-0INT; P: Chance Barker 10-13-150-3TD-1INT, Lowe 1-1-13-0-0
Receiving – OH: Spaulding 7-88-1, Elijah Gray 4-25, Mathias Spack 2-8, Armonyi Hicks 1-1; P: Lowe 1-70-1, Diacomo 4-63-2, Collins 4-36, Mossor 2-(minus-6)