09/13/12 — Despite early-season hard luck, Minor knows hard work will pay off for Bulldogs

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Despite early-season hard luck, Minor knows hard work will pay off for Bulldogs

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 13, 2012 1:48 PM

Through the first four games of Derrick Minor's tenure as head coach, Princeton has been painfully close to tasting victory three different times.

Minor remains adamant that the Bulldogs' hard work will ultimately be rewarded.

Three of Princeton's four losses have come by a combined 17 points -- each by a touchdown or less. The Bulldogs have led in the second half in two of those three losses.

Princeton (0-4 overall) opened the season with a 20-14 home loss to Hobbton. Kameron McDougald's game-tying 65-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was called back on a holding penalty. The Bulldogs marched to the Wildcats' 33-yard line on their final possession before a Hail Mary was intercepted.

Following a 62-30 loss at Midway, Princeton endured a 24-20 defeat to visiting Dixon. The Bulldogs failed to score on three trips inside the red zone in the second half and also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Dixon completed its comeback with a 12-play, 82-yard drive that was capped by quarterback CD Hansley's 10-yard touchdown run.

Princeton led North Johnston 21-7 last Friday before the Panthers scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and hung on for a 28-27 win.

"We have essentially dominated the first half of three of the four games we have been in," Minor said. "We are young. The majority of our team is sophomores and we are still learning to win. We have had some injuries and some key penalties against us I believe as the kids learn to play more and get smarter those things will take care of themselves."

Despite being winless and having endured some difficult losses, Minor has yet to see a decline in work ethic or morale amongst his players. He continues to preach the importance of finishing drills and games with the belief that the payoff will come.

"One thing I have learned about our team is they are buying into our program," Minor said. "They show up and work hard at practice every day. We are learning to focus on the bright side that we are a play or two from being 3-1. We talk all the time in our team devotions about character, work ethic and heart.

"We are doing things the right way and we are going to get rewarded."

Bulldogs' tailback Johnny Frazier has been a bright spot offensively. Frazier has rushed for 723 yards and eight touchdowns. The sophomore is averaging 180 yards per game on the ground and nine yards per carry.

"Johnny is a powerful runner," Minor said. "Once he gets through the hole he is hard to get down. He is learning the vision part of the game. He and (quarterback) Michael Wooten help balance each other out.

"It helps in the game plan because we are a spread team but if we are a run-first spread team, then other teams have to stop the run as well."

Princeton visits East Carteret on Friday.