CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With the ground game going strong, the Princeton football team ran behind its strength and onto victory at St. Albans on Friday night.
Three different Tigers running backs rushed for 95 yards or more as Princeton took command early and controlled throughout at Crawford Field in an eventual 47-14 victory on St. Albans' homecoming.
"I thought the first half we could have gone and put it away, but our kids got a little lax," Tigers coach Randy Peek said. "We let them hang around, but they fought in more ways than one, I believe, but they hung in there. They've been in a lot of adversity and they're fighters, and we were happy with the win tonight."
In between the football plays, the "fighting" Peek alluded to included many heated second-half moments, including the ejection of one Princeton player. The tension built as Princeton increased its lead and a second-half onside kick did not seem to sit well with the St. Albans squad.
"I think that led to some of the chippiness, and I apologize to [St. Albans coach Steve Stoffel Jr.]," Peek said. "Because that's not us and that's not us the way we acted some times tonight."
The two teams combined for more than two dozen penalties and 200 penalty yards with many the result of personal fouls. Still, the Princeton running game took center stage in determining the game's outcome.
Princeton standout running back Tahj Sho-Johnson finished with 13 carries for 142 yards with three touchdowns. Fellow Tigers running back Jordan Jones carried eight times for 111 yards and two scores, while quarterback Jay Palmer added 95 rushing yards and one touchdown. In total, Princeton finished with 431 rushing yards.
"All of us were playing as a team," Sho-Johnson said of the balanced effort. "All of my teammates came in and started playing hard."
Peek said after losing four games in a row, Princeton (3-4) returned to its early season form in the running attack against St. Albans (1-5).
"That's what we worked on all week and this flexbone [offense] if people will be patient and we get to the edge a lot, that opens up the middle," he said. "That happened early in the year. We were getting three guys with 100 yards, and then we kind of laxed and we ran into a tougher schedule also."
Princeton totaled six rushing TDs, three in each half. Palmer provided the seventh score with the Tigers' lone completion of the night, a 53-yard scoring pass to Jones.