The Princeville Princes scored first Friday (Sept. 11) night and Mercer County could never catch the visitors, losing 27-12. The game was the conference opener for both teams.

After Princeville scored with 5:15 left in the first quarter and kicked the point after, the Eagles answered with a touchdown of their own with 8:25 to go in the half. The two-point conversion failed and Mercer County was within 7-6.

The game turned around quickly in the final two minutes of the half. After Princeville scored with 2:07 remaining to take a 13-6 lead, a long kickoff return by Mercer County's Mike Neeld gave the Golden Eagles the ball just nine yards from a tying score.

An Alex Young pass was intercepted, however, by Noah Bauman of the Princes and returned deep into Eagles' territory. Princeville scored with 22.5 seconds left in the half and what might have been a tie game became a 20-6 halftime lead for the Princes.

The Eagles scored on the first play of the second half as Quinton King ran for 65 yards, leaving the home team behind 20-12. Princeville turned out the Friday night lights on the Eagles with a score midway through the fourth quarter to complete the evening's scoring.

Mercer County drops to 1-2 on the season, while Princeville moved to 3-0.

Eagles Coach Nat Zunkel said his team's biggest challenge at this point is to "continue to improve, wanting to get better every single down, every single play."

The coach said despite two losses with Lincoln Trail powerhouse Stark County here for homecoming Sept. 25, the goal is to focus on the next game.

"Our goal is to go 1 and 0 the next week," Zunkel said, adding no matter the quality of the opponent, "that's our goal."

The Eagles travel to Oneida next for an LTC game against the Mid-County Cougars.