With both defenses playing well in the Aug. 29 season-opener, it was a matter of what team would take advantage of the openings presented. Monticello cashed in enough times to defeat host Princeton 20-6 in the Tigers’ return to Mississippi 8 football.
Princeton lit the scoreboard on its first possession of the year, needing to travel just 30 yards on six plays when Cole Warren muscled in from two yards out for a 6-0 lead. But on the ensuing kickoff, the Magics’ Sam Johnson went the distance for a 76-yard score and a 7-6 lead.
An offensive pass interference call slowed Princeton’s momentum on the next drive, then Monticello picked off a pass in the end zone on an overthrown ball from Tiger junior quarterback Sam Archer. Two possessions later, the Tigers were driving inside Magic territory, but a fourth-down run by Cole Warren was stopped a yard short.
On the next play, Monti’s Andrew Manning raced off with a 54-yard slant reception. Two runs later, Jake Olson scored on a two-yard run. Tiger junior Tanner Palmborg blocked the extra point to keep it at 13-7. With 1:09 left in the half, Princeton got the ball back and used a late-hit penalty and a Palmborg reception to get to the Magic 30 yard line. But a final pass into the end zone was also picked off to end the threat.
The final turning point in the game came in the third quarter. The Tigers put together a nice 12-play drive, but the Magic defense rose up to stop them on downs at the 9. Monticello then gathered steam on a 13-play drive capped by a Johnson two-yard run for the 20-6 difference with 7:36 to play.
The Tigers were held without a first down on their last three possessions in the game.
“Monticello has a lot of depth at the line of scrimmage, and we got tired and made some mistakes. We will improve as the season progresses because we have a lot of kids out for football, and as those kids gain experience they will be able to contribute on Friday night,” said Tiger head coach Roy Hanenburg. “We made some mistakes that are correctable, and I believe we will improve as the season progresses.”
Next up: The Tigers travel to Big Lake Sept. 6 for the next Mississippi 8 battle. The Hornets fell to Chisago Lakes 40-7 in their opener.
Monticello 20, Princeton 6
First Downs 14 9
Rushing 38/160 28/98
Passing 22/10/3 11/5/0
Passing Yds 108 108
Total Yds 268 206
Tiger Individual Stats: Rushing: Wesloh 9/66; Kitzman 12/31; Warren 10/22, TD; McClay 2/22; Archer 7/19; Palmborg 1/0. Passing: Archer 21/10/2- 108 yds; McClay 1/0/1. Receiving: McClay 5/39; Ross 1/33; Mills 1/20; Palmborg 1/11; Wesloh 2/5.