The single-wing is back in vogue at Princeton High School, although as part of the perfect odd-couple pairing with the spread. The Bulldogs’ winning ways continue as well.
Princeton, ranked third in The Associated Press state 1A football poll this week, rolled by old rival North Johnston on Thursday 54-0 on the night the school named its football field “Harvey Brooks Field” after coach Harvey Brooks. Brooks led Princeton to success in the 1970s and ’80s running the old single-wing offense.
Third-year Bulldogs coach Derrick Minor has taken to the single-wing bug as well, mixing in plays out of the old direct snap formation in with the Bulldogs’ spread offense.
It makes for a pretty potent attack, especially when Johnny Frasier, one of the nation’s top-rated running backs, is in the backfield.
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“We did run a little more single-wing tonight, kind of paying respect to Coach Brooks and the roots of this program,” Minor said.
Frasier ran for 150 yards on 11 carries, scoring four touchdowns. He opened the game with a 33-yard touchdown run on a reverse. The Florida State verbal commitment also scored on runs of 16, 14 and 30 yards.
But the most highly functioning thing on the field before a packed house was Princeton’s defense, which held the Panthers (0-3) to 88 yards of offense.
“Our defensive effort was phenomenal,” Minor said. “Adrian Whack and Cody Garner were all over the place and our defensive line kept them from controlling the middle of the field. And if we did have a misstep up front, our secondary was right there to clean it up. It was an unbelievable night of defense.”
The Bulldogs registered five sacks and five tackles for losses. Senior defensive end Tanner Woodard had two sacks and two tackles for losses. Jordan Craft, Quinton Rhue and Tommy Horton picked up sacks as well. Craft (two), Luke Braswell and Whack accounted for the other tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
North, making the switch to the wing-T offense under first-year head coach Ashley Ennis, struggled to string positive plays together.
Princeton’s lead was just 20-0 with two minutes to play in the first half. But a 40-yard punt return by Craft set up a one-play, 10-yard touchdown drive with Malcolm Best pulling in a Michael Wooten pass for the score.
North fumbled on the ensuing possession and two plays later Princeton was in the end zone again with Woodard pulling in a 1-yard jump pass from Wooten. The Panthers lost the ensuing kickoff with Garner covering the loose ball.
Frasier picked his way around the left side of the Panthers’ defense on a 30-yard touchdown run three plays later and Princeton led by 41 points just 53 seconds after the lead was just 20.
Wooten was 8-of-14 passing for 76 yards.
Ricardo Sanchez led North Johnston with 62 yards rushing on 13 carries. Benjamin Howell picked off a Princeton pass defensively.
Princeton’s second-half scores came on a 20-yard fumble return by Best and a 36-yard scoring run by Kladae Richardson.