Saturday, September 02, 2000

St. Xavier 36, Princeton 18

Receiver Williams scores 3 touchdowns

By Carey Hoffman
Enquirer contributor

St. Xavier's Josh Williams scored 3 TD's.
(Brandi Stafford photos)
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        Two games into the post-Steve Sollmann era, St.Xavier might have identified the next sparkplug to electrify the Bombers offense.

        Junior wide receiver Josh Williams caught six passes for 164 yards and the Bombers' first three TDs in a 36-18 victory Friday at Princeton.

        The victory extended St.X's regular-season winning streak to 19 games.

        St.X trailed 12-7 in the third quarter before Williams scored two touchdowns in a two-minute period, one on a 49-yard sideline streak and the second on a perfectly timed 26-yard fade pattern.

        “Josh Williams is a stud,” smiled St. X junior quarterback Marty Mooney, when asked if Williams provides a new focal point for the Bomber offense. “Obviously, you saw tonight he can be that guy.”

Darren Barnett breaks up a pass intended for Williams.
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        Williams is in only his second year of playing football, after growing up a soccer player. His physical gifts are so obvious the St.X coaches challenged him prior to the season to step up and take a leading role in replacing last year's graduated receiving corps, he said.

        St. X's offense lost all-time leading rusher Sollmann from last year, along with all three receivers, including all-stater Michael Larkin.

        “Josh is a very skilled athlete. He's got great size and speed,” St. X coach Steve Rasso said. “He reminds me of Michael Larkin, but he's much bigger.”

        St. X held a 7-6 halftime lead, earned on the strength of a deflected 25-yard TD pass Williams caught in the first quarter.

        Princeton opened the second half by moving the ball downfield in four plays and scoring on Robert Bradford's 43-yard TD run. That put the Vikings ahead 12-7.

Blake Jones tries to pull down Robert Bradford by the T-shirt.
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        “I got mad at myself,” Williams said of his reaction at the time. “I wasn't playing my hardest, but after that, things just started falling into place.”

        Williams was matched up with 6-foot-1 Princeton junior defensive back Darren Barnett much of the time in the first half, but in scoring St. X's go-ahead TD, he was covered by 5-5 cornerback Ryan McElroy. He got McElroy to the inside, the ball was thrown to the outside, and Williams made a one-handed grab of Mooney's perfect pass for a 49-yard TD that put St. X ahead 15-12.

        Bradford ran 13 times for 108 yards for Princeton, while quarterback Rob Carress completed nine of 35 passes for 130 yards but three interceptions.

        “St. X is a great program,” Princeton coach Scott Miltenberger said. “You have to play four quarters against them. We beat the No.1 team in Dayton last week, but you can't take anything away from how St.X played tonight.”

        St. Xavier ....... 7 0 8 21—36

        Princeton ....... 0 6 6 6—18


        SX — Williams 25 pass from Mooney (Nolan kick)

        P — Harrison 1 run (kick wide)

        P — Bradford 43 run (run failed)

        SX — Williams 49 pass from Mooney (Mooney run)

        SX — Williams 26 pass from Mooney (Nolan kick)

        SX — Willingham 54 run (Nolan kick)

        SX — Graham 10 interception return (Nolan kick)

        P — Murray 7 pass from Carress (no conversion attempted)

        Records: SX 2-0, P 1-1.

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