11/14/12 — Princeton's Frasier showing more confidence each week

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Princeton's Frasier showing more confidence each week

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 14, 2012 1:48 PM

Princeton's Johnny Frasier took the handoff, followed his blockers and met a North Edgecombe defender one-on-one in open space.

No problem.

Frasier hurdled over the defender and never broke his stride en route to a third-quarter touchdown during second-round action of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A (small-school) football playoffs Friday evening.

"Did you see that?" PHS team chaplin Matt Wilson said as he turned toward a player on the sidelines.

"He wants it boys."

Frasier, a sophomore, didn't have that "go get it" mentality at the beginning of the season. He appeared timid in the Bulldogs' new offensive system and lacked self confidence when running the ball.

Princeton started the year 0-4.

"I don't think Johnny realized just how strong he is and how physical he can be," first-year PHS head coach Derrick Minor said. "He's not as intimidated, nervous as he was at the beginning of the season. Now he knows he can play with these guys.

"It's amazing to watch how he has grown."

Some of that maturity surfaced during the Bulldogs' regular-season finale against Rosewood. Bottled up most of the night, Frasier broke loose for sizable gains in the fourth quarter and put his team on the board with a 32-yard touchdown run.

He collected all three touchdowns in the overtime sessions and accounted for 128 yards of total offense -- 87 rushing and 41 receiving.

"When we were going into overtime for the first time all year, Johnny said 'put the ball in my hands, we've got this'," Minor recalled. "We put the team on his back and just about won it with him."

The 5-foot-11, 198-pounder ranks second among the area's top rushers with 1,431 yards and 19 touchdowns. Frasier collected 163 yards and two touchdowns against North Edgecombe, and helped push the Bulldogs into the eastern semifinals for the first time since 2009.

He had nine runs of 10-plus yards in the second-round win.

"He's trusting his linemen to lead him through and has confidence those guys will open holes for him," Minor said. "He's a patient runner and doesn't out-run his blocks. At first he was running standing up and now he's falling forward, dragging guys with him.

"His speed ... a blessing that where he can turn a five-yard gain into a big play and that is another dimension that we didn't have before."

Minor said Frasier has become a student of the game and carefully watches himself on the screen during film sessions. He listens to the coaches and understands that their advice is not criticism.

"Things he does well, he wants to do better," Minor said.