North Duplin wasted no time popping Princeton’s homecoming balloon, defeating the Bulldogs 41-20 at Fred L. Bartholomew Jr. Athletic Complex Friday night in Carolina 1A conference action.
PRINCETON — North Duplin wasted no time popping Princeton’s homecoming balloon, defeating the Bulldogs 41-20 at Fred L. Bartholomew Jr. Athletic Complex Friday night in Carolina 1A conference action.
The Rebels’ rushing attack – full of misdirection and diversion – stymied the Bulldogs all night. North Duplin had 541 yards rushing and 574 yards in total offense.
The Rebels (5-2 overall, 1-1 Carolina 1A conference) came off a tough loss to Carolina 1A foe Goldsboro last week to take down the Bulldogs (2-5 overall, 1-1 Carolina 1A conference), which had won two in a row.
Rebel senior QB Tyler Royal had a career night, rushing for 425 yards on 41 carries with six touchdowns. The Rebels only threw one pass in the first half, and two total passes on the night. Royal’s one completion went for 33 yards to senior Mitchell Thigpen.
Royal scored four of his six touchdowns in the first half, amassing 250 yards on 21 carries before halftime. He was only talked for a loss once, and had seven carries of 18 yards or more. He had 175 yards on 20 carries in the second half.
“We all executed tonight. It’s up to the big men up front,” Royal said, when asked about his huge night on the ground. “Everyone did their jobs tonight, and without my linemen, nothing happens. This was a big team win.”
Sophomore Johnny Frazier paced Princeton on homecoming night, ending the game with 155 yards on 13 carries, scoring two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Senior Kameron McDougald added an 8-yd TD run in the fourth quarter.
“Bottom line, Royal is an awesome QB. When you see it on film, you don’t realize how good he is until you see him in person. I told him that after the game, that he was unbelievable,” said Princeton coach Derrick Minor. “I’m proud of him, but I’m proud of our guys, too. We held tough, but I’m not gonna make any excuses. They were just flat out better tonight.”
North Duplin got on the board first, after a 13-play drive ended in a Royal 9-yd TD scamper. On their next possession, Royal ran right up the middle for a 62-yd score. On their third possession, Royal found pay dirt again on a 56-yd option run. Three possession, three Royal scores.
“We had to kinda reinvent the wheel this week because we’re so banged up. Offensively we wanted to control the ball,” said Rebel coach Hugh Martin. “They really stacked the box on us in order to try and stop the run, but Tyler still found some good creases.”
The banged up he is referring to is senior fullback Julio Mora. Mora just had serious hand surgery, and is out a minimum of six weeks.
Princeton found pay dirt in the second quarter, after a 51-yd kickoff return by Frazier. On the very next play, Frazier ran through the Rebel defense for a 29-yd touchdown.
North Duplin stayed consistent, with Royal scoring another touchdown on the Rebels’ fourth possession – a dash around right end from 26 yards out.
Princeton and Frazier got their second touchdown of the night about two minutes before halftime. The Bulldog eight-play drive ended with a Frazier 2-yd touchdown.
Princeton forced a three-and-out for North Duplin to end the half, stopped the Rebels consecutive touchdown/possession streak.
The Rebels came out flat in the second half, with Royal fumbling twice, one recovered by Princeton’s Kermit Corprew on North Duplin’s first possession.
“I was proud of their heart, because they never gave up. They still believe until that final whistle blew,” Minor said. “It doesn’t show on the scoreboard but they had a heart victory tonight. They could have easily folded at halftime, but they didn’t.”
After a lackluster third quarter, the Rebels went into the fourth quarter on an 18-play drive, culminated by a Royal 20-yd touchdown run.
After a Rebel interception of Princeton QB Michael Wooten at the two-yard line on 4th and 11, Royal ran away from everyone two plays later for a 92-yd touchdown run – his sixth of the night.
McDougald ended the scoring on the night with a TD run from eight yards out with 3:16 remaining. North Duplin used the clock to their advantage, with Royal waiting until the back judge began his count before snapping the ball.
“We kinda hurt ourselves tonight,” Minor said. “We had a couple of misreads, and that’s something we’re going to grow on. Our kids still believe, and I’m so proud of them.”