Sideline play cards keep game moving for Bulldogs
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 10, 2013 1:49 PM
Not many high school football programs can boast that Duck Dynasty's Si Robertson is an integral member of its offense.
Not many high school football programs have a head coach with the creativity of Princeton's Derrick Minor.
In an effort to increase the tempo of the Bulldogs' offense and give his players a chance to have some fun at the same time, Minor implemented a new way to call plays this season. A tactic modeled after the University of Oregon, Princeton uses large poster boards with various pictures to help relay signals to the offense from the sidelines.
The pictures range from Robertson, to Princeton principal Kirk Denning, Kung Fu Panda, Barney Fife and the logos for the Carolina Hurricanes and John Deere. The boards also promote local businesses like O'Reilly Parts where Minor's father is a district manager and Woodard's Drug Store in Princeton.
"We're trying to increase our tempo," Minor said. "The pictures can mean a play, a formation or a color. We try to add some fun and get the kids excited. It also allows us to call a play without words and codes or wristbands, and speed up our offense."
Through six games the new play-calling system appears to be working quite well. The Bulldogs average 32 points and 402 yards of offense per game. Princeton has scored at least 22 points in five of its six games this season.
Minor's team spent the bye week fine-tuning the offense after a 13-point loss at No. 1-ranked James Kenan two weeks ago. Prior to playing Princeton, the Tigers had not allowed more than 18 points in a game all season.
Bulldogs' junior quarterback Michael Wooten had his highest output of the season against Kenan with 278 yards passing and two touchdowns.
"That was huge for Michael," Minor said. "To go against a defense as fast and talented as James Kenan and to have that type of game allowed us to build even more confidence in our receivers and our quarterback. When our running game is not on we can be successful with the run and the pass."
Hobbton (0-6 overall) visits the Fred L. Bartholomew Jr. Athletic Complex on Friday night as Princeton begins a stretch of three games against opponents who are a combined 4-15. The Bulldogs visit Spring Creek (2-5) the following week before playing host to North Duplin (2-4).
The Wildcats lead the all-time series with Princeton 21-3. Two of the Bulldogs' wins occurred in 2009.
"We're going to treat each game like it's the last game," Minor said. "We're going to prepare for each team like they're the No. 1 team in the state and try to stay humbly confident."
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