The number 15 ranked Greenbrier East Spartans defense knew they had a tough task ahead when they traveled to Mercer County to take on the 11th ranked Princeton Tigers.
However, they did not expect their offense to be held down for the first time all season in a 56-14 defeat, a loss that puts the Spartans once hopeful playoff spot in serious doubt.
To be fair to the Spartans (5-4), who have now lost three games in a row, the COVID-19 protocols have affected their normal routines the last two weeks. They have held just two on the field practices in the last 10-plus days which have made it extra tough on their preparation and game plans.
Princeton (5-2) scored just over seven minutes in when Ethan Parsons caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Grant Cochran for a 7-0 Tigers lead.
The Spartans answered on the subsequent possession when Quentin Wilson broke free and scored on a 33-yard touchdown run. Also on that drive, East’s Colby Piner became the 15th player in School history to rush for the coveted 1,000 yards after a 13-yard pickup.
Unfortunately, the Spartans saw very few positives the rest of the way.
The Tigers would score the next 42 points to take a 49-6 lead late in the fourth quarter. Amir Powell’s 37-yard run, Carter Meachum’s 67-yard touchdown catch, and Josiah Honaker’s 93-yard scoring reception highlighted Princeton’s night.
Wilson scored East’s other touchdown late in the fourth and Nate Baker got in for the two point-try as the Spartans fought until the end.
Piner picked off Cochran in the second half.
Princeton rolled up 424 yards of offense. Cochran threw for 336 yards and five touchdowns. The sophomore has put up big numbers this year and is a potential Division-1 prospect in a couple years. Powell ran for 102 yards while Parsons (119) and Honaker (116) also eclipsed the century mark in receiving yards.
For the Spartans, Wilson was named McDonald’s player of the game and ran 14 times for 84 yards with the only two scores.
The Spartans will look to rebound in a “must win” game against Lincoln County this Friday night, November 6. If East wants any chance to be a member of the state playoff bracket, they have to come out on top. It will be the regular season finale.
Stats courtesy of 103.1, WRON.