The annual football game between Hall and Princeton is always intense, but it does not always have this much importance to both teams.

Both teams need wins this week before facing tough opponents the final weeks of the season.

Princeton enters Friday's game 4-1 overall and needing one win to become playoff eligible. Princeton's three opponents after Hall are Mendota, Chillicothe IVC and Orion, which are a combined 14-1.

Hall enters Friday's game 2-3 overall and needing to win three of its last four games to become playoff eligible. Hall has IVC and Champaign St. Thomas More remaining on its schedule, and those two teams are a combined 10-0.

"It's not mathematically a must win for us, but it is one of the games we marked on our calendar we must win," said Hall head football coach Jason Bland. "(The players) know we got to win this game. It's Homecoming. It's Princeton. They (Hall's players) are going to be trying their best to win the game. It's our archrival, and they're coming here to spoil our Homecoming."

The Red Devils may have some extra energy this week because it's Homecoming.

Princeton has plenty of excitement this week simply because Hall is the opponent.

"You can see coming out here, we are all talkative and pumped for this Friday," said Princeton senior quarterback Brik Wedekind. "We usually just put our stuff on, go out to practice and hope to have a good practice. We are kind of excited this week."

Princeton is looking for its first win over Hall since 2002. That year Princeton beat Hall 21-20 in overtime, but that game was in Princeton.

The last time Princeton won at Hall was a 21-8 win in 1999, which was also the last time Hall failed to make the playoffs.

Second-year Princeton head coach Dave Moore experienced the Hall-Princeton game for the first time last year.

Moore is new to this rivalry, but he experienced some heated rivalries during his years at Bureau Valley and Manlius.

"Last year, we came in on the short end of stick. The big thing is we can't make the mistakes we did last year," Moore said. "This is a big rivalry. I've been a part of big rivalries before. It's a good feeling. No matter what team has a winning record or doesn't have winning record, it's a good game."

Erik Hall can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 195, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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