Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Indians race past Princeton to stay unbeaten
SANGER - How well were things going for Sanger offensively in the first half of Friday's 42-21 win over Princeton?
Well, when Princeton flushed Sanger quarterback Dane Evans out of the pocket at the Panther 8-yard line, Evans rolled to his left and pulled off a Tony Romo-esque shovel pass to Nathan Rotter for a touchdown.
By then, the outcome wasn't in doubt, as the Indians (5-0) had a 35-7 lead. Now, they have an off week before they begin perhaps their biggest slate of district action in recent memory.
Sanger head coach Chuck Galbreath gave his players Saturday off, but let them know they should only enjoy being undefeated for a day or two.
"It's great to be 5-0," he said. "We're scoring a lot of points, we're playing great defense and we've gotten better every week. But the real season starts in two weeks."
That's when the Indians open District 9-3A action at Pilot Point. The Indians appear poised to end their playoff drought, dating back to their last appearance in 2006 under former head coach David Hughes. But to end that drought, the Indians will have to contend with one of the best 3A districts in the state.
The Indians entered the game as the No. 6 team in The Dallas Morning News' area poll for schools 3A and below. District rivals Argyle (No. 1) and Aubrey (No. 9) were also in the poll. In addition, Pilot Point claimed a 2A state title last year. And Gainesville was 3-1 entering Friday's action.
"It's one of the best districts in the state of Texas and we know it's not going to be easy," Galbreath said. "We know Pilot Point is much better than their record indicates. They've played a tough schedule. We have to be ready."
That's why Galbreath made sure his team knew their four-game streak of no personal fouls came to an end against the Panthers (1-4). Penalties like that can kill momentum in games and in seasons.
The Indians put most of their starters on the bench to start the fourth quarter in an effort to give them a rest. They had certainly earned it.
In just three quarters, Evans rolled up 415 passing yards and five touchdown passes, giving him 1,567 yards passing with 20 touchdowns and three interceptions at the halfway mark of the season. Evans was precision personified, as he was 16-of-22 passing and threw accurately everywhere on the field.
His receivers blew up as a result. Rotter racked up 136 yards on seven catches, along with two scores. On two occasions he brought down jump balls against Princeton defenders. Jon Garza caught four passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Hayden Thomas kept up with the passing game, rushing for 153 yards on just nine carries.
Thomas set the tone with a 45-yard kickoff return that set up the opening play from scrimmage -- a 47-yard scoring hookup between Evans and Garza on a slant route.
Aside from a 15-yard touchdown pass from Stacey Dillard to Noel Nevarez, the Indian defense stood firm until giving up two late touchdowns when the second unit was in the game. The defense pestered Dillard all night, tackling the sophomore eight times for a loss.
Dillard was Princeton's main source of offense, as he threw for 300 yards. But the Indians stopped him on downs twice in the first half, plays that kept the Panthers from gathering momentum. Nick Conklin tackled Dillard for a loss to stop a drive at the Indian 18, while Dakota Cotton picked off a Dillard pass in the end zone late in the second quarter.
Dillard and his freshman brother, Jakari, are the sons of Princeton head coach Stacey Dillard, who was an assistant under Hughes. The pair connected for a 7-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
Sanger 42, Princeton 21
Princeton 0 7 0 14 -- 21
Sanger 14 21 7 0 -- 42
S -- Jon Garza 47 pass from Dane Evans (Gage Hundley kick), 11:36
S -- Ryan Scott 34 pass from Evans (Hundley kick), 8:32
S -- Grant Briney 5 run (Hundley kick), 11:12
S -- Nathan Rotter 71 pass from Evans (Hundley kick), 9:29
P -- Noel Nevarez 15 pass from Stacey Dillard (Juan Vazquez kick), 6:56
S -- Rotter 8 pass from Evans (Hundley kick), 5:49
S -- Garza 21 pass from Evans (Hundley kick), 1:59
P -- Jakari Dillard 7 pass from Stacey Dillard (pass failed), 5:38
P -- Nevarez 7 pass from Stacey Dillard (Stacey Dillard run), 1:47
First downs 21 21
Rushing yards 26-77 25-134
Passing yards 300 415
Passing 26-40-1 16-25-0
Punts-yds. 3-30.0 2-25.0
Penalties-yds. 4-25 5-62
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
RUSHING -PRINCETON: Bert Wilson 5-5, Stacey Dillard 18-68, Justin Love 1-0, Jashod Porter 2-4. SANGER: Hayden Thomas 9-153, Dane Evans 5-(-46), Grant Briney 5-23, Mitch Hassell 3-(-9), Brandon Foster 3-13.
PASSING - PRINCETON: Stacey Dillard 26-40-1-300. SANGER: Evans 16-22-0-415, Mitch Hassell 0-3-0-0.
RECEIVING - PRINCETON: Jarod Porter 5-47, Justin Love 1-17, Noel Nevarez 7-64, Kadeem Satchel 8-128, Marquis Thomas 2-33, Justin Jones 1-10, Jakari Dillard 1-7. SANGER: Jon Garza 4-106, Ryan Scott 1-34, Hayden Smith 2-24, Jay Cain 1-27, Nathan Rotter 7-136, Zane Paddack 2-64, Hayden Thomas 1-24.