10/07/17 — Football --Wilkins, Princeton dispatch Union

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Football --Wilkins, Princeton dispatch Union

By Justin Hayes
Published in Sports on October 7, 2017 9:28 PM

PRINCETON -- Lamar Wilkins rushed for two game-clinching fourth quarter touchdowns and all-everything tailback Rahjai McPhatter slashed his way to 121 yards as hashmark-collecting Princeton, unwilling to cede the Carolina 1-A crown it shared a year ago, rolled to a 34-16 league triumph over Union High on Friday night at capacity-stretched Harvey Brooks field.

And soon after his team's post-game kneel in the east end zone, with well-wishers flanking his every move, Bulldog head coach Travis Gaster wanted his signal-caller's reputation for due diligence on the record.

"His touchdown run down here (Wilkins' second of the stanza)... I saw the blaster, I saw the sled, and I saw our O-Line in the weight room," an excited Gaster said. "It's just good to see, because that's what we practice."

Duly noted, coach, and with good reason.

Wilkins was simply  everywhere from the outset, directing the Bulldog attack under center and helming a bend-but-don't-break defense from his outside linebacker position. No. 9 even hauled in a touchdown pass, spun out McPhatter's right hand with time dwindling in the first half, to give Princeton a 13-8 advantage at the break.

It was his second-half performance, however, that had the crowd abuzz.

After a Union touchdown and 2-point conversion by freshman quarterback Issac Underwood cut the PHS lead to 20-16 to start the final period, Wilkins went back to work, directing and finishing a five-play, 62-yard scoring drive with a 26-yard run to paydirt with 8:46 remaining in the contest.

To borrow a phrase, it was beast-mode -- and also a harbinger.

Just seven minutes later, the contact-seeking junior struck again, weaving through a densely-populated line of scrimmage en route to a 19-yard touchdown that officially started the bus for a game, physical Union outfit.

Done and done.

Princeton 34, Union 16.

"They (Union) are very, very athletic and strong," Gaster said of new conference member Union. "I mean, there were plays where they manhandled us... they tackle where you're supposed to tackle -- they tackled our hips."

Just not Wilkins, who rumbled and stumbled his way to 105 yards on 11 carries and two very important touchdowns.

Now 5-2 on the season, Princeton travels to face Hobbton next week.