The Big Blue had two time-consuming drives but poor field position, two turnovers and some key special-teams mistakes in falling to 2-7, 2-5.
“Field position was big,” HHS coach Chad Murphy said. “It felt like we started every drive inside the 15. The field position battle is huge, and they definitely won the field position battle.”
Following Johnny Jones’ 67-yard touchdown jaunt that gave Hamilton a 7-3 lead, Princeton took advantage of missed tackles to take move ahead on Rafael Floyd’s 32-yard pass from C.J. Thomas.
Hamilton fumbled on its own 10 on the next possession, and Sherman went over from 7 yards out for an easy score.
The Big Blue then went on a 17-play drive capped off by Trace Sword’s 32-yard field goal with one minute left in the half.
Princeton took two plays to get the momentum back. After fumbling the kickoff, the Vikings picked it up and returned it 50 yards. On the next play, Sherman went untouched on a 45-yard run to make it 24-10.
“Once again, we got momentum and couldn’t hold it,” Murphy said.
The Big Blue cut the lead to 24-17 in the third quarter on quarterback Khaliyal Sowell’s 5-yard run, but the Big Blue — hampered by eight penalties — never threatened again.
Following back-to-back holding calls in the final quarter, Hamilton had to punt from its own 10. After a short punt, Sherman put the game away with a 19-yard scoring run.
Princeton will host Sycamore next Friday, a regular-season finale that Daniels said means everything for his young squad.
“I looked at the polls, and we still have a lot to play for,” Daniels said. “It’s a long shot, but we are not mathematically out of the playoffs.”
Hamilton was led by Maleek Jarrett’s 72 yards rushing. Sowell was 11 of 20 passing for 123 yards.
The Big Blue wrap up the season next week on the road against Lakota West.
Hamilton quarterback Khaliyal Sowell unloads a pass before Princeton’s Darrion Henry (92) can get to him Friday night at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
“We just have to finish,” Murphy said. “I feel we are way better than our record, and so is Lakota West. We just need to stay together and finish.”
P: Zackary Lacey 27 field goal
H: Johnny Jones 67 run (Trace Sword kick)
P: Rafael Floyd 32 pass from C.J. Thomas (Lacey kick)
P: Tyrese Sherman 7 run (Lacey kick)
H: Sword 32 field goal
P: Sherman 45 run (Lacey kick)
H: Khaliyal Sowell 5 run (Sword kick)
P: Sherman 19 run (Lacey kick)
Hamilton’s Gabe Matthews wraps up and tackles Princeton’s Cecil Singleton during Friday night’s game at Virgil Schwarm Stadium in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF