Notebook: Millbrook defense improves; Princeton rallies; Franklinton QB strong

tstevens@newsobserver.comSeptember 17, 2013 

Millbrook’s defense was outstanding Friday night as the Wildcats held Northern Durham to 19 rushing yards and 78 total yards in a 41-2 non-conference football victory.

The Millbrook defense is giving up only 7.5 points per game.

The Wildcat defenders and special teams almost have outscored Millbrook’s opposition, scoring three touchdowns with fumble returns and two more on punt returns.

The improvement from last year is dramatic. The Wildcats gave up 30.4 points per game in 2012 and finished 3-8.

Wildcats coach Clarence Inscore thought the veteran defenders would step up this season.

Tackles Sam Blue (two fumble returns for touchdowns) and Naquan Bryant anchor the middle. Ends Kengera Daniel and Dillon Dawkins are playing well as is linebacker Julian Williams (fumble return for touchdown).

Free safety Raul Oquendo (two scoring punt returns), safety Khalil Spears and cornerbacks Nate Smith and Angelo O’Briant all make major contributions as well.

The defense has been very consistent. Fuquay-Varina knocked in a late score in a 23-8 win. A fumble return was the decision maker in a 14-7 loss to Knightdale. East Wake, among the area leaders in total offense, scored a couple of touchdowns in a 20-14 loss and Northern Durham could do almost nothing.

Millbrook is off this week, but tougher defensive challenges await. The Wildcats were projected no better than fourth in the strong Cap 8. Undefeated Leesville Road and Wake Forest are Nos. 1 and 2 in the N&O rankings and Wakefield also is undefeated.

All three of the league opponents average more than 390 yards in total offense.

Princeton rallies: Princeton rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to top rival North Johnston, 45-32. It is the Bulldogs’ first win over North since 2009.

Princeton standout junior running back Johnny Frasier ran for 267 yards on just 15 carries and returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown. Frasier accounted for four of the Bulldogs’ five TDs in the second half.

After giving up 26 points in the first half, Princeton’s defense held North (0-4) to six points in the second half and forced three Panthers’ turnovers.

North Johnston’s Trey Daniels had 181 yards receiving on eight catches in the loss.

DiMaggio set to return: Versatile Dante DiMaggio, Cardinal Gibbons’ speedy runner, receiver and backup quarterback, has been out with a hand injury since the first game, but is expected to return to the lineup with the Crusaders open their Big Eight 3A season on Sept. 27 against Cedar Ridge.

The league championship may be decided by Gibbons’ last two games of he regular season against Orange and Pittsboro Northwood, which are both unbeaten. Orange plays at Northwood on Sept. 27.

Neal leads Rams: Quarterback Daquan Neal has led Franklinton to a 4-0 start and three straight games of 50 points or more. The Rams have beaten Louisburg 50-28, Northern Vance 50-28 and Northwest Halifax 59-8 the last three weeks.

Neal has thrown for 656 yards with nine touchdowns and has rushed for 223 yards on seven touchdowns. He hasn’t thrown an interception. He leads the area in passing efficiency with a 277.1 rating. Trent Evans of East Wake is second in efficiency with a 170.4.

Travon Judkins has rushed for 551 yards and scored seven touchdowns.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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