High School Sports

Camden County keeps Princeton offense in check in 1AA football playoffs

Camden County came up with a simple solution to stop Princeton’s very productive run in the past five weeks: keep the ball out of the Bulldogs’ hands.

The Bruins moved on in the 1AA east high school football playoffs with a 27-14 victory Friday night, limiting Princeton to 11 offensive plays in the second half and just 27 on the night.

Camden (9-3) will play at top-seeded Wallace-Rose Hill in the second round next week. The Bulldogs finished the season 4-7, having won four of their last five during the regular season.

Tied at 14 at the half, the Bruins opened the second half with a six-minute, 25-second touchdown drive capped by a 21-yard TD pass from Brandon Underwood to Ashton Korzeniowski.

Princeton went three-and-out on its next two drives.

“I felt like we were doing the kinds of things we like to do,” said first-year Bulldogs coach Travis Gaster. “When they scored to start the second half we were only down seven, but it felt like a lot more and we could never recover from it.”

Camden pushed the lead to 27-14 with 8:21 to play on a 29-yard TD run by Trevor Carr, who gained all his 79 yards rushing on the night on six second-half carries.

Princeton picked up its only first down of the second half on its ensuing drive, but a mishandled handoff led to a fumble that Bruins’ standout Marcus Joyner covered, allowing his team’s methodical I-formation attack to reel off the final minutes of play.

Joyner, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound back, finished with a game-high 136 yards on 24 carries.

“They did to us what we’ve done to people in games the past few weeks,” Gaster said, whose team moved to a wing-T offense after a open date in early October.

Camden took a 7-0 lead on a 29-yard pass from Underwood to William Bunton Jr. in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs scored the game’s next 14 points.

Junior back Matthew Stallworth had a 17-yard TD run and Kiadae Richardson went in from 40 yards out on Princeton’s next drive for a 14-7 lead (after a two-point conversion run by Nick Hare) with 6:41 to play in the second quarter.

Camden answered with a four-minute scoring drive. Joyner went in from five yards out with 2:41 to play until the half.

Stallworth led Princeton with 73 yards rushing on eight carries.

The Bulldogs lose 12 players to graduation: Hare, Richardson, Jarrett Pearce, Jamie Pearce, Malcolm Best, Cameron Cook, Codi Bryant (who blocked an extra-point Friday night), Skylar Shields, Chris Sauls and Hunter Moss.

D. Clay Best: 919-524-8895, @dclaybest