PRINCETON VIKINGS Division I, Region 4 Head Coach: Gary Croley Jr. (7-3 at Princeton, second year, 7-3 overall, one year) 2011 Record: 7-3, 4-3
Overview: The sleeping giant appeared to come out of its slumber. Princeton surpassed everyone’s expectations in 2011. The Gary Croley Jr. Era began with a return to fundamentals and hard-nosed players that the Vikings were so accustomed to und the great Pat Mancuso. The shift in attitude was clear in the kids’ faces and attitudes. Sustaining that enthusiasm is the next step in the rise of this Phoenix.
Running back Demarco Thomas had a breakout campaign with 900 yards on the ground, 1,495 all-purpose yards and 12 total touchdowns. The explosive Darrell Davis can line up in the backfield or be used as a receiver. Four of his 38 touches in 2011 went for 41 yards or more. Halen Witcher showed breakaway speed with eight of his 26 touches on offense netting at least 10 yards. Receiver William Blevins adds to the deep threats. Up front Princeton lost some quality players, however stud center Mac Bossel and Adeleke Ademuyewo are back.
A huge key to last year’s turnaround was the Vikings ability to stop foes on third and fourth downs. Opponents converted just 27.9 percent of 134 tries versus the Vikings’ defense. Leading the charge are the very active Jelani Parrish, Darian Perkins and Davis, who were all Second-Team All-GMC performers a year ago. Parrish and Perkins tallied 8.0 sacks between them as juniors. Classmate Geno Madison registered 5.0 sacks up front. Princeton forced 28 turnovers last fall and turned four of them into scores. More play like that will lead to another winning campaign.