WHO: Greenbrier East (0-4) at Princeton (5-0)
WHERE: Hunnicutt Field-Princeton, WV
WHEN: Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 PM
LAST WEEK: Princeton (defeated Pulaski, VA 42-0) GE (bye week)
ABOUT THE OPPONENT:
The Tigers are no stranger to the Spartan community. The two teams have met for the last several decades and this season Princeton brings an explosive offense into the matchup and a no. 8 ranking according to the Metro News Sports Power Rankings.
The Greenbrier East Spartans have arguably their biggest challenge to date when they head to Mercer County for a battle on the gridiron with the Princeton Tigers. Princeton is 5-0 so far this season and has pitched two shutouts (Lincoln County 49-0, Pulsaki (VA) 42-0) in the process. However, as good as the Tigers ‘D’ can be, it is their offense that jumps off the page.
Averaging 44.8 points per game, the Tigers are a threat to light up the scoreboard every time they step on the field. Their lowest scoring game this season was a 27-point effort against the Bluefield Beavers, but they won that game 27-6. The Spartans lost to Bluefield 34-19 just a couple weeks ago. Princeton runs an offense that spreads teams out and their elite speed makes it relatively easy for them to rack up yards on the ground and through the air as they have one of the more balanced offenses in the state.
PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR PRINCETON:
QB- Chance Barker- 59-of-90, 1,136 yds, 16 TD
RB- Marquel Lowe- over 500 rush yds, 10 total TDs
WR- Domonick Collins- 22 rec, 562 yds, 13 total TDs
FLEX- Brad Mosser- over 400 total yds
The Tigers offense is typically a four-man skill team. Occasionally, Mikey Diacomo steps up to provide depth on offense, but there are four players that scare the defensive coordinators the most. When former Tiger quarterback Grant Cochran graduated, most thought Princeton would take a step back at the position for at least a year or two. Unfortunately for their opponents, and fortunately for the Tigers, that did not happen. Cochran, who is currently on the WVU football roster as a walk-on, has been followed by Chance Barker who is showing a lot of similarities to his predecessor. Barker, a 6’1”, 170-pound sophomore, is poised for a youngster and delivers a well thrown ball with accuracy. He has thrown for 16 TDs through five games. His favorite target is Dom Collins, a small but lightning quick track star. Over the summer at a WVU football camp, Collins ran the 40-yard dash and was clocked in the 4.2-4.3 range. It’s the fastest time in WVU camp history. Collins has also proved that he is not just a camp sensation with his play on the field. Last season he had over 1,600 all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns and is on pace to shatter those numbers this season. Against the Beavers a few weeks ago with the game still close, Collins put it away in the fourth quarter with a 70-yard TD catch and a 28-yard score.
As good as Collins is in space, the key player for the Tigers may very well be running back Marquel Lowe. In his last two games, Lowe has 284 yards and five touchdowns, and has rushed for more than 500 yards this year and benefits from defenses trying to keep the ball out of Collins’ hands. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield and has two TDs there as well. Brad Mosser will churn out big yardage for the Tigers if defenses key on just Lowe and Collins.
PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR GREENBRIER EAST:
QB- Brody Hamric- 48-of-89, 661 yds, 7 TD, 5 INT
RB/WR- Nate Suttle- 298 total yds, 4 TD
TE- Grant Burdette- 18 rec, 235 yds, TD
WR- Kaden Stone- 10 rec, 158 yds, 3 TD
DL- James McCraw- 2 fumble rec, blocked kick
DL- Aiden Cole- 3 sacks
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR THE SPARTANS:
For Greenbrier East to pull the upset, they will need to keep Princeton from explosive plays early. The Tigers tend to let some teams hang around when they are forced to methodically move the ball down the field. However, if Princeton hits Collins or Lowe for a 60-plus yare score early in the contest, it could be difficult for the Spartans to match that momentum, especially on the road.
Brody Hamric and the offense just need to play their game as the Tigers defense is good but can be vulnerable at times. The Spartans need to go into the game with a focus on themselves and not worry about what Princeton is doing. East has good young talent also and playing within themselves is critical if they want to snag their first victory of the season.
East is scoring at an 18.7 point per game clip and they allow 37.7. This would be a nice week to flip those numbers around.
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