Princeton's last-second win at home Friday night was one for the ages

CINCINNATI – Jermaine Wimpye has chills thinking about the celebration in the end zone Friday night. Hosea Hairston still can't believe his teammate caught the 'Hail Mary' pass.

Players, coaches, school administrators and fans will forever remember where they were at Viking Stadium Sept. 14, 2018.

Hairston and Wimpye - both seniors - continued to savor the moment Saturday morning after Princeton's improbable 30-28 win over visiting Lakota East.

"It was unbelievable," Wimpye said.

The 37-yard touchdown pass from Hairston to Wimpye will be etched into the annals of Princeton athletics history. The game will be discussed for many years to follow.

"It still feels unreal," Hairston told WCPO Saturday morning.

Wimpye was on his way to the University of Toledo for a recruiting visit Saturday morning. He lost track of how many times he watched the highlight on social media. But, he was very happy with how many followers he gained as a result of his memorable catch.

Though they practice the two-minute drill during the week, Friday was the first time Hairston and Wimpye had been involved in a 'Hail Mary' play at any level of football.

"It was crazy," Wimpye said. "It was kind of like something you would see on TV."

On third down with eight seconds left, the clock went to zero when the ball went out of bounds on a pass, according to Princeton coach Mike Daniels. Lakota East coaches, players and fans rushed the field thinking the game was completed, Daniels said. The fans had to go back to the stands and the players went back to the field.

One second was put on the clock as Lakota East led 28-24. 

With Lakota East in a prevent defense and fourth down, Hairston threw to Wimpye in the end zone for the winning score. Wimpye jumped and caught the ball with three defenders around him. He was confident in his ability on that final play because he jumped higher than everyone else.

Princeton senior Jermaine Wimpye caught a 37-yard touchdown pass in the end zone as time expired to give the Vikings a 30-28 win over visiting Lakota East. (Photo by Mike Dyer)

Before the touchdown, Hairston pulled Wimpye to the side and told him he would look for him in the end zone. Wimpye told Hairston: "'All right, I got you.'"

After Hairston threw the ball to the end zone, he was worried as Wimpye bobbled the ball. Hairston thought his teammate had dropped it. He felt crushed in the moment.

But, it wasn't reality. Wimpye caught the ball. The celebration ensued.

"He created like an unreal moment," Hariston said. "I started going crazy. I hugged him and laid on him. It was a big old dogpile."

Princeton senior quarterback Hosea Hairston threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns Friday night. He had 116 yards rushing on 18 carries. (Photo by Mike Dyer)

Players and students ran onto the field to celebrate with Wimpye in the end zone.

"It doesn't get any better than that," Hairston said.

The highlight quickly made its rounds on social media late Friday night and into Saturday morning.

Daniels, a Vikings alum and former University of Cincinnati standout, admitted to watching the highlight between 15 and 20 times late Friday night into Saturday morning. The former UC wide receivers coach was still incredulous at what transpired.

“I coached in the Sugar Bowl,” Daniels said early Saturday morning. “I was part of the Orange Bowl. I was at Kennesaw State and at [the University at Buffalo]. That was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen and be a part of.”

Hairston threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 116 yards on 18 carries.

The final drive started at the Princeton 12 with 1:30 left and just one timeout. Hairston kept his composure and Daniels told him he matured as a quarterback.

Wimpye had seven receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. He also has 21 tackles on defense for the season.

Junior defensive end Darrion Henry had 10 tackles (six solo) along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery Friday night.

Daniels said he let the players enjoy the celebration Friday night and he planned to go through the details of the game with the team Saturday.

“That could mean the difference between a playoff game or not,” Daniels said.

Princeton (3-1, 1-1 Greater Miami Conference) plays host to Middletown (1-3, 0-1) Sept. 21. Lakota East (2-2, 1-1 GMC) plays host to Fairfield (3-1, 2-0).

SEE Friday's scores throughout the Tri-State and Saturday's schedule.

Around the ECC

Kings senior running back Nak’emon Williams had 221 yards and three touchdowns as the Knights defeated Anderson 35-14. It was the first loss of the season for Anderson (3-1, 0-1 ECC).

“His great night was preceded with his best week of practice this season,” Kings coach Andy Olds said. “I’m very happy for him.”

Kings (3-1, 1-0 ECC) plays at Turpin (3-1, 1-0) next week. The Spartans defeated West Clermont 19-16 Friday night.

Loveland snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 24-0 win over visiting Withrow Friday.

Milford junior quarterback Hunter Johnson was 15 of 23 passing for four touchdowns in the Eagles’ 42-21 win over Walnut Hills. Senior defensive lineman Brian Stevens record two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

RELATED: Watch Tri-State game highlights on WCPO's "Friday Football Frenzy."

Special night

Moeller senior RJ Khayo had a memorable night in the Crusaders’ 39-0 win over Lafayette (Ky.). He caught a 70-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Khayo had a 90-yard touchdown run. Khayo is third all-time in Moeller history in career receptions. He has 102 receptions for 1,098 yards. Jake Hausmann (2015 graduate) and Tony Harris (2008) are second with 111 career receptions. Monty Madaris (2011) is first with 118 receptions. Moeller (3-1) plays at St. Xavier (2-2) Sept. 21.

Panthers Rising

Little Miami improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1999 with a 41-0 win over Mount Healthy. Little Miami is trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 1992. Little Miami plays at Talawanda next week.

RELATED:  Mason coach tells players they made a memory for a lifetime.

How ‘bout them Cowboys?

Wyoming defeated Taylor 55-0 as the Cowboys held Taylor to 12 total yards and no first downs. Wyoming coach Aaron Hancock said the offense was efficient and explosive. Wyoming junior quarterback Evan Prater was 11 of 15 passing for 253 yards and four touchdowns in the first half. He also had two rushing touchdowns in the first half. He played one series in the second half and threw his last touchdown on a screen. Wyoming (3-0, 1-0 Cincinnati Hills League) plays host to Finneytown (2-2, 0-1) Sept. 21.

More offensive firepower

Mariemont had 505 yards of total offense in a 42-14 win over Finneytown. Senior quarterback Wally Renie was 14 of 23 passing for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Charlie Cowart had five receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Mariemont (4-0, 1-0) plays host to Madeira Sept. 21.

Nice start

Deer Park is 4-0 for the first time since 2007. The Wildcats defeated host Reading 43-39 Friday night. Deer Park (4-0, 1-0 Cincinnati Hills League) plays host to Taylor (1-3, 0-1) Sept. 21.

Talking playoffs

The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s weekly computer points standings will be released Tuesday (Sept. 18) for all seven divisions. Those points standings are a reflection of playoff positioning up until the final weekend of the regular season. The final standings will be released Oct. 28.

Get the latest preps sports news and chat with Mike Dyer by joining our Cincinnati Area High School Sports Facebook group.

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