CORINTH — Isaiah Sadler threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns to lead Princeton to a 31-21 win over host Lake Dallas in a back-and-forth game at Falcon Stadium Friday night.
The Panthers (2-1, 1-0) used a steady combination of pass and run, racking up just under 400 yards of total offense, to secure its first win in District 7-5A.
But it was the Falcons (1-3, 0-2) who struck first.
After forcing a punt on Princeton’s first possession, Lake Dallas started its opening series with favorable field position at its own 40-yard line. Four plays later, the Falcons took a 7-0 lead on junior Trevor Moon’s 24-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown with 7:57 remaining in the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Princeton was threatening after Sadler connected with Daniel Torres for a 32-yard gain. The drive went downhill from there.
Senior Christian Crawford sacked Sadler on the next play resulting in a 10-yard loss, and the Falcons got the ball back when senior Kobee Minor picked off Sadler’s pass on third and long.
Minor, a defensive back committed to Texas Tech, had an interception, two fumble recoveries and a blocked extra point in the first half alone for the Falcons.
However, after two incompletions and a sack pinning them deep in their own territory, the Falcons were unable to capitalize on the turnover.
“The wind made it difficult for us to get much going in the air tonight,” said Michael Young, Lake Dallas head coach. “But it works against both teams, so it’s really not an excuse”.
Princeton had a short field to work with on its next possession after a short punt by the Falcons.
On a first down play with 3:11 left in the quarter, Jay Hill took a dive up the middle and raced untouched for a 39-yard touchdown. Minor’s block of Nico Ledesma’s extra point attempt left the score at 7-6.
Hill would finish with 147 yards and two touchdowns to lead all rushers.
Lake Dallas punted after a three-and-out, and the Panthers took over at their own 37-yard line. A little craziness followed.
On second and short, Hill took a handoff up the middle and bobbled the exchange. Minor scooped it up, but during his return was stripped of the ball, and the Panthers regained possession when offensive lineman Tyler Fisher fell on the ball.
The sequence was pivotal for the Falcons.
On the next play, the first play of the second quarter, Sadler found Torres wide open on a hitch and go route, good for a 29-yard touchdown with 11:53 to go before halftime. Sadler’s pass to Kendall Johnson on the two-point conversion put the visitors on top 14-7.
Lake Dallas answered immediately.
On third and 11 with just under eight minutes to go before intermission, Moon hit senior Hunter Hope on a 62-yard bomb to even the score at 14-14.
The Falcons were looking to score a go-ahead touchdown late in the first half, but Johnson picked off a pass intended for Hope to thwart the drive.
After a long, sustained drive, Princeton took a 17-14 lead into the locker room when Ledesma drilled a 37-yard field goal on the last play of the half.
Minor picked up where he left off at the start of the second half.
The senior safety intercepted a Sadler pass and returned it 35 yards for a pick-six, giving Lake Dallas a 21-17 lead with 9:30 left in the third quarter.
But those would be the last points for the Falcons.
The Panthers drove the length of the field on their next possession and took a 24-21 lead on Sadler’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Parker.
Hill’s 22-yard touchdown run with 5:29 left in the game increased the lead to 31-21, securing the victory for Princeton.
Moon threw for 121 yards and a score, while Hope hauled in four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Lake Dallas has a bye week next week before traveling to Denison to take on the 2-2 Yellow Jackets.