Princeton senior Augie Christiansen had three words for the IC Catholic players following Saturday’s 27-20 overtime 3A quarterfinal loss to the Knights at Princeton’s Bryant Field.
“I told them, ‘Go win it,’” he said. “I wouldn’t want to lose to any one else but the state champs. So, I told every single one of them, ‘Go win it.’ If we’re going down, I want to go down to the champs.”
The Tigers running back/linebacker, whose blocked PAT attempt by the Knights’ sent the game into overtime was appreciative of the Knights’ show of sportsmanship after the game with many Knights congratulating and consoling their counterparts on a game well played.
“They were super respectful after the game They are. Everyone here kind of talks, ‘Oh they’re chippy.’ It’s football. It’s supposed to be chippy,” he said.
Tigers goal cut short
Princeton reached most of its goals this season – repeat as Three Rivers East conference champions for the fifth straight year, win all of their homes and finished the regular season undefeated.
The Tigers won their first two playoff games, but saw their ultimate goal of playing for a state championship fall short with Saturday’s heart-breaking overtime loss.
“Obviously, our goal was to be playing after Thanksgiving. I truly felt, the winner of this game was going to have that opportunity. Unfortunately, we fell short,” Princeton coach Ryan Pearson said. “I just can’t say enough about our seniors. Just the leadership they provided our program. The example they gave our younger kids. I’m going to miss them a lot.”
Princeton defensive coordinator Dave Moore walked off the field for the final time following Saturday’s loss.
Moore had a long successful career, both as an assistant and head coach. He served under Ken Bourquin, who would become his future father-in-law, at Manlius/Tampico and Bureau Valley. He later became head coach at BV, leading the Storm to the 3A state championship in 2005 and a 26-game win streak riding into the semifinals in 2006.
He left BV to become head coach at Princeton, coaching from 2008-11. The former Dunlap High School gridder returned to BV as an assistant only to retrace his steps to become an assistant at Princeton.
The loss to IC Catholic was Princeton’s third straight to the Knights’ in quarterfinal play, the second at home.
The Knights beat the Tigers 31-7 a year ago in Elmhurst and handed another undefeated Princeton team a 37-12 defeat in 2015 at Princeton.
In six appearances, Princeton has never loss a quarterfinal to any other team. The Tigers beat Rock Island Alleman 27-14 on the way to a state runner-up finish in 1989, beat Rochester 48-21 in 2002 and defeated Paxton-Buckley-Loda 38-12 in 2019, all at home.
IC Catholic has Bureau County’s number in the playoffs. The Knights are now 5-0 against Bureau County teams, including a 32-27 opening round win at Hall in 2005 and a 41-8 quarterfinal win at home over Bureau Valley in 2008.
Knights defense comes on strong
After surrendering 20 points in the first half, the IC Catholic defense shut out Princeton in the second half and overtime, allowing the Knights to rally for the 27-20 victory.
“The defensive line did a second job that second half. We knew it was going to be won up front and they did their job. A good job,” Knights defensive coach Roger Kelley said.
Source: The Daily Chronicle