Princeton head coach Travis Gaster was 0-5 in his first five games as a head coach, but since those first five games, Gaster has gone 49-17 and has a 49-22 overall record as the Bulldogs’ head coach.
And before a homecoming crowd on Thursday night, Gatster got his 50th career win as the Bulldogs turned in a dominant 71-8 performance against Goldsboro.
“We’re blessed to have some great players. I know when I started here, I went 0-5 in my first five games, and I wasn’t coaching any less hard than I am now,” Gaster said. “My staff is just unbelievable. They get no credit at all, and I have a great staff on both sides of the ball.
“A good staff combined with a school and a county that supports athletics. It’s a great place to be, and it’s a good place to work and raise my family.”
Princeton fumbled on the game’s opening possession, but Goldsboro was forced to punt on its first possession, and the Bulldogs opened the scoring on the ensuing possession when Jaydon Brooks scored from 25 yards out.
Midway through the first quarter, Goldsboro drove down to the Bulldog’s two-yard line, but the Cougars could get into the endzone and turned the ball over downs.
One play later, Brooks broke off a 90-yard touchdown run, which was the start of a 42-point second quarter for the Bulldogs that included touchdown runs from Paul Edens, Christian Perris, and two more touchdowns from Brooks, who scored four touchdowns in the first half.
The Cougars punted from their own 20-yard line with three minutes left in the second quarter, but the punt was blocked, and Perris scooped up the ball and ran into the endzone to give Princeton a 50-0 lead at halftime.
“We came out and executed well on both sides of the ball and on special teams as well,” Gaster said. “Getting a blocked punt was big for us. Our offense was clicking pretty well and then we executed defensively against a lot of different formations.”
With the running clock going in the second half, Brandon Turner had two rushing touchdowns from 24 yards and 65 yards out, respectively, to put Bulldogs up 64-0,
Goldsboro scored its only touchdown of the midway through the fourth quarter when Deontay Hooker threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Paul Illozier.
LaDainian Strayhorne added a one-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to complete the Bulldogs’ scoring.
Princeton (6-0 overall, 2-0 NSC) hosts Spring Creek (3-2, 0-1) on Oct. 15, while Goldsboro (2-5, 1-1) entertains North Johnston (1-5, 1-0).
“It doesn’t have anything to do with who we’re playing. That’s been the case since day one. It’s all about us, so next week our job is to do better than we did in this game,” Gaster said. “Fix the mistakes that we made and keep going forward.”