Princeton upsets North Duplin in 1-A football playoffs
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 4, 2012 1:53 AM
CALYPSO -- Since the day he was named head football coach at Princeton, Derrick Minor has preached relentlessly to his players about determination, refusing to quit and believing in one another.
The Bulldogs never doubted Minor's message.
That belief was rewarded with the biggest win in Minor's short tenure Friday evening. Princeton turned in its best performance of the year and upset North Duplin 28-21 in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A (small-school) state playoffs.
The win avenged a 41-20 loss to the Rebels on Oct. 5 and snapped a four-game skid that started in early October.
Princeton (3-8 overall) visits North Edgecombe in second-round Mideast Region play next Friday.
"All week we've had a chip on our shoulders because we felt like the first time we played North Duplin we didn't show what we were capable of," Minor said. "We just believed all week we could come out here and do our best and we showed it tonight."
Michael Wooten connected with Kameron McDougald on a 24-yard touchdown pass on Princeton's second possession to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs orchestrated a 78-yard drive that culminated with Wooten's 1-yard touchdown run. Princeton's lead grew to 14-0 with 21/2 minutes remaining in the first half.
North Duplin needed fewer than two minutes to score while covering 76 yards solely on the ground. Tyler Royal's 14-yard touchdown run pulled the Rebels to within 14-7. Royal finished with 181 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Princeton perfectly executed a hook and lateral just before halftime and Johnny Frasier received Jake Sullivan's pitch and waltzed into the end zone and the Bulldogs led 21-7 at the break. Frasier rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown.
"We tried (the hook and lateral) a couple of times throughout the year and it didn't work," Minor said. "We put it in the Lord's hands and we were blessed tonight for those things to work. This is the time of year you want those things to work."
North Duplin (7-4) had a touchdown called back on a block in the back on the first possession of the third quarter. The Rebels were stopped on fourth-and-1 on the Bulldogs' 7-yard line.
Jacob Warren recovered Frasier's fumble at the Princeton 22-yard line. Royal's 20-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to 21-14 midway through the third quarter.
"Unbelievable," Minor said of his defense's two fourth down stops. "That is what you want to see. We've preached all week about building a stone wall. That was huge."
McDougald's 51-yard touchdown run on a reverse on fourth-and-1 from the Rebels' 49-yard line extended the Princeton lead to 28-14 with 6:47 left.
Royal pulled the Rebels to within 28-21 with a 1-yard score late in the game, but the Bulldogs recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.
North Duplin was hampered by six penalties for 75 yards and struggled to sustain momentum offensively.
"It seemed like a time or two we couldn't make one block we needed to make or one read we needed to make to keep a drive going or to break a big play," North Duplin head coach Hugh Martin said. "If we convert those two fourth downs and score, we're looking at a different scenario."
Other Local Sports
- Gators don't skip a beat
- Local Preps Digest
- Britt: Eagles finding stride
- C.B. Aycock faces another tough road challenge
- Six Trojans earn spot on Conference Carolinas All-Academic volleyball team
- Preps digest: Middle school, NRYFL
- Prep notebook: James Kenan JV players see quality playing time
- Morris, WAVE president, excited about adding boys' program
- Spring Creek blanks Midway, advances in 1-A boys' soccer playoffs
- Rosewood avenges loss to Lejeune