Every week Princeton football coach Derrick Minor has a theme for the game his Bulldogs will be playing. For the opening round of the NCHSAA 1AA state playoffs, that theme was to be relentless.
Johnny Frasier and his teammates were more than relentless, rolling up more than 500 yards rushing en route to a 59-22 victory over Granville Central.
The triumph improved the fourth-seeded Bolldogs to 9-3 and into a second round meeting with top-seeded James Kenan, a rematch of a Sept. 22 game that Kenan won, 35-22.
Frasier carried the ball 19 times, all in the first half for 350 yards and six touchdowns as Princeton quickly turned the game into a laugher.
"We knew we had to put points on the board quickly," Minor said. "We just decided to go right at them (Panthers).”
Frasier was the first to go right at the Panthers, taking a handoff on a reverse and streaking up the sideline for a 72-yard scoring burst, the first of his six-pack of scores on the evening.
“We knew we had to get the momentum on the kickoff and get good field position," Minor said. "Johnny scoring on that reverse was beautiful - it set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Frasier continued to run through and around the Panthers defense, notching additional scoring runs of 37, 1, 30, 76 and 5 yards respectively as Granville Central had very little success stopping the Bulldogs' record-setting junior. But the Panthers, who saw their season end with a 7-5 mark, didn't have difficulty with Frasier alone.
Princeton used eight backs, with Dillon Pace leading the complementary corps of runners, accumulating 100 yards on 14 carries, including 50-yard jaunt for a TD in the third quarter, the last of the night for the Bulldogs, who built a 59-8 cushion.
"That's where the weight room comes in, "Minor said."The guys have been working so hard, they come in and get plenty of reps - it definitely helps us to sub guys in and feelgood about them on the field.”
Princeton, led by Frasier and Pace, amassed 533 rushing yards, essentially giving qurterback Michael Wooten - who was 3-for-4 for 51 yards, a night off.
Minor praised his defense and the coaching staff for the effort put forth against the Panthers, while although surrendering 192 yards to Panthers senior halfback Corey Evans, held its ground until late in the second half.
Evans had both of those, on jaunts of 18 and 34 yards, well after the issue had been decided.
"The guys just seemed to sniff it out (Granville Central's running game) all nightlong," Minor said. "Our defensive staff has done a good job preparing these guys and putting them in position to do good things. This passing game is pretty potent, and our kids shut them down early."
Princeton limited Panthers quarterback Jay Parker to 5-of-14 passing for 72 yards and one interception.
Parker burned the Bulldogs secondary onlly once, a 29-yard strike to Naize Young late in the first quarter to trim the deficit to 24-8.
Then Frasier became more than relentless for the Bulldogs, with scores on four of the next five possessions.