Capital's Kashaun Haley darts through a hole against Princeton.
When you've only got one home game in the first six weeks of the season, you'd better make that one count. Capital did that Friday night.Freshman quarterback Tyhree Pratt fired three touchdown passes - two to his older brother Cliff - and ran for another score to spark the unbeaten Cougars to a 49-7 victory over Princeton before about 2,000 fans at Laidley Field."It felt good, my first home game as a high school player,'' Tyhree Pratt said. "I love playing with my brother, too. It's lovely.''Capital (3-0) came into the game tied for sixth in the SSAC Class AAA playoff ratings.It was a belated home opener for the Cougars, who started with two road games, had their bye week, and now have two more away games before returning to Laidley on Oct. 5 against Riverside.But it was worth the wait for Capital fans, who saw their team score in a variety of ways, including a safety and a 38-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Rashad Cunningham - all in the first 71 seconds of the game.Tyhree Pratt threw TD passes of 37 and 24 yards to Cliff Pratt and 24 yards to Tyrell Davis. Kashaun Haley, who ran for a team-high 123 yards on just nine carries, added a 22-yard TD burst and backup Jonathan Pittman scored on a 30-yard run.
Cunningham's early runback was the seventh kick return for a touchdown by the Cougars this season."Again, we can run,'' said Capital coach Jon Carpenter, "but I'm not sure how much we executed rather than making the big play.''About the only downside for the Cougars was a whopping total of 16 penalties for 106 yards."A lot of those were late in the game,'' Carpenter said, "and a lot of those were aggressive penalties. As long as they're not intentional . . . we got a lot of hits and things like that, and we can live with them. Hey, Bobby Bowden has the most-penalized team in the ACC a lot of times [with Florida State]. It shows that you're aggressive.''
Capital's big-play attack had to share the bill last night with a denying defense, which kept the winless Tigers off the board until the final minute of the game. At halftime, Princeton had 10 net yards and trailed 35-0.When Capital's starting defense departed in the final minute of the third quarter, the Tigers stood at minus-10 yards rushing. They finished with 64 on the ground and 114 total, and avoided a shutout when Jordan Jones scored on a 2-yard run with 34 seconds left.Princeton (0-4), which has given up 52, 55 and 49 points in its last three games, again played without Tahj Sho-Johnson, its leading rusher from last year who is sidelined with a knee injury. He is awaiting the results of an MRI to determine if he can return."Capital's got a whole lot of speed, and they're young,'' said Randy Peek, Princeton's first-year coach. "That's what we're trying to build at Princeton - a football program, and it's going to take a while.
"We're knocked down right now and the kids are injured and we're playing a little soft. We showed a little more heart on defense tonight than we have, but we couldn't move the ball tonight because of [Capital's] size and speed.''Tyhree Pratt completed 11 of 16 passes for 145 yards, with four connections to Davis (50 yards) and three to Cliff Pratt (64 yards). Tyhree Pratt also ran six times for a net of 38 yards.He realizes the road now gets tougher for Capital, which has outscored its first three opponents 152-62. The Cougars visit South Charleston and Hurricane the next two weeks."We want to keep it up,'' Tyhree Pratt said. "Don't get the big head, and keep working hard.''Before the game, Capital presented CAMC with a check for $1,000 to aid in the research of and care for pancreatic cancer. The game was dedicated to former Cougars coach Jack Woolwine, who died in July from pancreatic cancer. Capital plans to make a similar donation for its home football opener every year.Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org