Goldsmith does it all for Big Blue

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

SHARONVILLE — Gracen Goldsmith did just about everything right Friday night.

The Hamilton High School junior showed off his punting skills, played lights out defense at linebacker, recovered a blocked punt and even notched a rushing touchdown.

But still, he wasn’t satisfied.

“I feel like we left it all out there on the field,” Goldsmith said. “It happens. It’s football. We came up short. We’ve got to learn how to finish the game strong. We gave it our all.

“I don’t know how I feel right now, to be honest. This is just a tough loss to handle.”

Deangelo Birch hit Daelyn Jarman on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left, and No. 3-ranked Princeton knocked off Hamilton 22-16 at Pat Mancuso Field.

Hamilton had its three-game winning streak snapped in falling to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the Greater Miami Conference. Princeton improved to 5-0, 4-0 GMC.

“We didn’t see them as Princeton,” said Hamilton junior Trey Verdon, who had 10 tackles and two sacks. “We just saw them as any other team — East, Oak Hills or any other team that we’ve beat.

“We did fall short a little bit. I think we beat ourselves more than anything. We’ll get them next year.”

The Big Blue had the Vikings pinned against the ropes after trailing for nearly 46 minutes.

When Goldsmith recovered teammate Jailen Morris’ blocked punt at the end of the third quarter, Hamilton shifted the game’s momentum. Goldsmith found the endzone on a fourth-and-1 plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the Big Blue pulled it to within 14-10.

On the next Hamilton possession, Antonio Mathis hit a streaking Cairon Navey for a 67-yard pass play. That led to a 5-yard touchdown pass from Mathis to RJ Shephard-Ruffin — which gave the Big Blue their first lead of the game, 16-14, with 7:53 remaining. The extra point attempt from Connor Stephens hit off the goal post.

“We made the adjustment at halftime — that ignited us,” Hamilton coach Arvie Crouch said. “We hit a couple of deep balls, and we were being a little conservative on that. But we hit some deep balls and got behind them a couple of times. We’re pretty fast, too.”

Princeton got the ball back with just under a minute left, went 64 yards on seven plays and capped the drive off with Jarman’s game-winning touchdown catch.

“This is why you coach and why you play high school football,” Vikings coach Andre Parker said. “Nights like this are special. Both sides will remember it for the rest of their lives. They’ll be 40 years old and sitting there with their buddies saying, ‘Do you remember that game?’”

That last Princeton possession was saved by Jarman’s fourth-and-long catch in which he and Hamilton cornerback Wyman Carr Jr. fought for the ball as they hit the ground. Officials awarded Jarman the reception.

Princeton also got a pass interference call that later set up Jarman’s TD catch.

“I feel like this is always going to be a loss, but I feel like we did make some big strides as a team and in general,” Verdon said. “Like when a DB would make a mistake, and the whole team starts attacking them. But we’re like, ‘You’re cool, man. Let’s get them next time.’

“Big Blue is back, though,” Verdon added.

Mathis threw for 147 yards on 11 of 24 passing with two touchdowns and an interception for Hamilton, which hosts Fairfield next Friday.

Birch finished with 159 yards passing on 17 of 23 attempts for Princeton, which travels to Oak Hills next week.

“That’s what hurts, man,” Crouch said. “The kids deserved it. We get a bad rap. Everybody thinks this and that. These kids are outstanding. They work hard — some of the hardest-working kids that I’ve ever coached. It’s just frustrating. But we’re going to go back to work (Saturday) and see if we can’t fix this.”


Middletown 21, Lakota East 14: Eric Schroeder scored on a 24-yard wun with 6 seconds left to lift the Middies past the Thunderhawks. Schroeder finished with 94 yards and two TDs on 17 carries. Jamison Kitna scored two TDs for winless East.

Badin 49, Hughes 12: Badin won its 33rd consecutive regular season game.

Lakota West 38, Colerain 7: Sam Wiles tossed touchdowns to Brennan Remy and Jiovionni Wilson to lead Lakota West. Remy and Eudes Gonzales Jr. each had a rushing score and Grant Beerman, Taebron Bennie and Joel Drake each forced a turnover.

Mason 21, Fairfield 14: Talon Fisher hit Noah King on a 97-yard touchdown pass and added a rushing score for Fairfield, but Sky Talley’s 6-yard TD run with 2:39 to play gave Mason the edge.

Brookville 42, Middletown Madison 21: Kory Davis racked up 216 rushing yards with four touchdowns to lead Brookville. Keegan Mehr and Jake Lenser each added a TD run. Kaden Sarbaugh highlighted Middletown Madison with a 26-yard fumble return score.

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