11/21/13 — Bulldogs, Tigers meet again in playoffs

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Bulldogs, Tigers meet again in playoffs

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on November 21, 2013 1:50 PM



WARSAW -- Princeton wanted a second chance to play top-ranked and unbeaten James Kenan.

The N.C. High School Athletic Association obliged.

The teams meet Friday in second-round play of the 1-AA (large-school) Mideast Region playoffs. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Bill Taylor Field.

"Sometimes in life you ask for a second chance and it never comes," Princeton head coach Derrick Minor said. "Our guys are excited because they get an opportunity to make up for a loss earlier in the year and a chance to go toe-to-toe with a very good team."

James Kenan won the teams' first meeting, 35-22, during the first week of Carolina 1-A Conference play. The Tigers finished regular-season play 10-0 and demolished Union in their first-round postseason game last Friday.

The Tigers held the Spartans to 164 total yards of offense and forced four turnovers.

"Last week our defense was really flying around," James Kenan head coach Ken Avent Jr. said. "Princeton is a quality football team and it's going to take that kind of effort plus some if we want to be successful and advance."

Two of the state's top running backs -- Kenan's Marcelias Sutton and Princeton's Johnny Frasier -- square off for a second time. Sutton has committed to N.C. State and Frasier is getting courted by numerous Division I schools.

Frasier has racked up 2,754 yards and 41 touchdowns during his junior season. After battling a thigh bruise that sidelined him for three games early in the season, Sutton has tallied 960 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.

Each player is healthy and at full strength.

"Those two kids are both excellent football players and they are obviously a huge part of what each team does on offense," Minor said. "It isn't very often at the 1-AA level that you get the chance to see two Division I-caliber backs on the same field."

Minor and Avent Jr. agree that getting ahead early may be the key to winning the ballgame. The Tigers and Bulldogs have each gotten off to fast starts during the past two weeks.

In their regular-season finale against archrival Rosewood, the Bulldogs returned the opening kick for a touchdown. Frasier took the first play from scrimmage 76 yards to the end zone against Granville Central.

James Kenan has scored on its opening possession in each of the its last two outings as well.

"Hopefully we can find a few things that work," Avent Jr. said. "Princeton has played us as close as anyone this season with the exception of Wallace-Rose Hill, so we know what they are capable of. It's going to be exciting."