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Prep football: Princeton running back a tough customer for Capital

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Asked his thoughts on Princeton senior running back Tahj Sho-Johnson, Capital Coach Jon Carpenter said the facts are pretty self-explanatory.

"If you don't tackle him he'll end up in the end zone," Carpenter said of the Tigers' four-year starter, who ranks fifth among Class AAA rushers in the state with 346 yards and five touchdowns.

"He's a pretty good back. Luckily, we practice against some pretty good ones too, so hopefully we'll be a little better prepared for him," Carpenter said.

The Cougars (1-0) are ranked third in the Daily Mail Class AAA Poll, and play host to No. 10 Princeton (2-0) at 7:30 p.m. today at University of Charleston Stadium.

Princeton has equaled its win total from 2012, when longtime Tigers Coach Ted Spadaro retired in the final week before summer practice. Randy Peek replaced him, and soon after installed quarterback Jay Palmer in position to run a triple-option offense.

Carpenter said Princeton has become much more of a threat with its offense having had a year to develop.

"Any time you run the option like that you're in every game you play," he said. "It's difficult to defend, and not many people do it. It makes you have to tackle your assignment and stick to it."

Princeton is coming off a 32-29 win over rival and Class AA No. 4 Bluefield (1-1), a team the Tigers have beaten just three times in yearly meetings dating to 2004.

Capital, meanwhile, is coming off a school-record scoring performance in a 68-7 rout of Riverside. It was just the second time in program history the Cougars had scored 60 or more points in a game, and marked the most lopsided win for the team since the school opened in 1989.

No Capital player had more than four carries in the win, with junior Kashuan Haley leading the team with 122 yards and two touchdowns on three carries. Haley also had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback Tyrhee Pratt was 6-of-8 for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

Capital leads the all-time series 11-2, and hasn't lost to Princeton since 2006.

In other area games:

Class AAA No. 7 George Washington (2-0) at St. Albans (0-2) - The Draven Riffe Express rolls into Crawford Field tonight, where the Red Dragons have not had much luck stopping opponents this season. St. Albans has given up 116 points in losses to Spring Valley and South Charleston.

Riffe, meanwhile, has 495 rushing yards on 64 carries, and has scored six touchdowns. Riffe has more carries than any running back among the top 46 rushers in Class AAA. Nitro's Brayden Underwood has the second-most, with 47 carries.

Hurricane (1-1) at Riverside (0-2) - The Redskins' offense got a healthy pick-me-up last week against Nitro after it sputtered against No. 5 Huntington in the season opener. Senior quarterback Austin Hensley has completed 27-of-52 passes for 388 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions while senior utility back Zach Pate leads the team with 198 rushing yards and four TDs on 22 carries.

The Warriors have suffered the program's two most lopsided defeats in history in losses to No. 4 Cabell Midland (70-0) and No. 3 Capital (68-7) in the first two weeks of the season.

Poca (0-2) at Buffalo (0-2) - Putnam County teams look for their first win of the season tonight in Buffalo. Dots quarterback Justin Stewart leads the team with 206 rushing yards, while Buffalo's Jordan Tucker has 197 rushing yards and leads the team with 112 receiving yards on six catches.

Tolsia (0-2) at Class AA No. 10 Sissonville (2-0) - See story, Page 3B.

Herbert Hoover (1-1) at Lewis County (1-1) - See story, Page 1B.

Scott (1-1) at Chapmanville (1-1) - The Skyhawks have Class AA's top passer in Cody Brown, who has thrown for 379 yards on 28-of-48 attempts. The Tigers seemed to correct their anemic offensive performance from a Week 1 home loss to Sissonville, and are coming off a 24-18 road win at Herbert Hoover.

The Huskies beat Scott 40-35 on Aug. 30.

Other games tonight include Ripley (0-2) at Winfield (1-1), Parkersburg (1-0) at Class AAA No. 4 Cabell Midland (2-0), No. 5 Huntington (2-0) at Woodrow Wilson (1-1), Lincoln County (0-2) at Logan (2-0), Roane County (1-1) at Ravenswood (1-0), Sherman (1-1) at Class AA No. 7 Wyoming East (2-0), Ritchie County (1-1) at Clay County (1-1) and Van (1-1) at Valley (1-0).

Nitro is idle this week.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.


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