October 16, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.
Their vaunted rushing attack chewed up chunks of yards against North Branch all night and stopped the Vikings from getting their bearings most of the night. Princeton held the ball for nearly 30 minutes of the 48 minute contest and rushed for almost 400 yards as they cruised to a 42-14 win, spoiling homecoming.
The Vikings defense forced a fourth down in the opening drive, but Princeton converted the short try inside North Branch’s 30. The drive ended up in a five yard touchdown run from Wyatt Dahlheimer sending Princeton to a 7-0 lead.
The North Branch offense answered back immediately, not taking any time shredding down the field.
The Vikes started at their own 35 after a short kickoff was fair caught by Devin McDonald.
On second down, quarterback Nick Pilz tossed a comebacker to Michael Hensch for what should have been a short three yard gain, but Hensch broke a tackle to turn it into a long gain that got the Vikes into Princeton territory.
Hensch made his second catch in a row for a four yard gain on the next play before Aaron Irvin took a nice carry around the end for 11 yards, putting North Branch inside Princeton’s 30 yard line.
On the next drop back, Pilz rolled to his left and launched a deep pass that fell incomplete, but he was roughed up after the let it fly and that gave the Vikings another first down and 15 yards, which set up their first score.
Pilz dropped back and lofted a pass into the left corner of the end zone and his top receiver Kennedy Ashley reeled in a beautiful fingertip catch to bring NB within one. Evan Amunrud’s extra point tied the game at 7.
However, that was the best part of the night for North Branch. Princeton scored two touchdowns in the second quarter with no answer from the North Branch offense. Both scores were 30 yard touchdown throws from Princeton quarterback Sam Archer to receiver Devon Palmborg.
The Vikings tried to reset at the break, knowing they were getting the ball back to start the second half.
Those plans quickly went out the window when they fumbled the second half kick off and Princeton jumped on the loose ball.
It left the Tigers with a short field to work with and they cashed in, as Dahlheimer scored his second touchdown of the game to put Princeton up 28-7.
The Tigers added another touchdown in the third quarter, stretching their lead to 35-7.
Pilz answered that score with a touchdown pass to Ashley, but it was too little, too late for the Vikings.
Princeton added one more score for good measure, finishing the game with a 42-14 win.
For North Branch, Pilz went eight-of-20 for 124 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
Hensch had 26 yards rushing and 79 yard receiving to go along with 11.5 tackles on defense. Irvin led the Vikes with 50 yards rushing. Ashley had 72 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions.
The Vikings dropped their MEA-shortened week game against Big Lake on Wednesday, October 15 48-19. The loss sent North Branch to the fifth seed, which means they'll travel to Bakken Field to take on the St. Paul Harding Knights on Tuesday, October 21.