Smithfield: Sports

High School football notebook: Princeton faces challenge

Princeton has dashed through five victories to start the season with an average winning margin of 29.2 points per game. But the Bulldogs will have a much bigger test this week at home against Warsaw James Kenan, a team that has posted 15-0 and 13-1 records the past two seasons.

Princeton (5-0) is ranked No. 2 in The Associated Press state 1A poll, and Kenan (3-1) is No. 3.

Kenan’s loss this season is to the state’s top-ranked 1A team, Wallace-Rose Hill, 45-33.

Kenan beat Princeton twice last season, once during the regular season, 35-22, and then in the second round of the playoffs, 43-36. The playoff win was the closest game Kenan had on the way to the 1AA state championship.

“We couldn’t ask for a better situation,” said Princeton coach Derrick Minor. “This is the best opportunity we’ve had to beat a team like James Kenan with the team we have this year. It’s going to be an exciting week for the boys, the school and our community.”

The Bulldogs have fallen behind early in each of their previous battles against Kenan, then they battled back in the second half to give the Tigers fits late.

“We can’t beat ourselves,” Minor said. “We have to take advantage of every opportunity we have and not put ourselves into (a big early deficit) again if we want to have a chance.”

Princeton leads the area in scoring offense with 45.8 points a game. Florida State recruit Johnny Frasier has rushed for 684 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ran for just more than 3,000 yards last season.

Princeton quarterback Michael Wooten has been stellar as well. He has completed 53 of 83 passes (63.8 percent) for 798 yards, with nine touchdowns and one interception.

“Each week we continue to grow as a family and push each other to get better,” Minor said. “Their hard work in the weight room and in practice each day are the results that we are seeing on Friday nights.”

Tigers keep Cup: Chapel Hill beat crosstown rival East Chapel Hill for the 11th straight straight time in football last week to retain the Chapel Hill News’ Hodgin Cup, which is awarded annually to the winner.

The outcome of the 65-6 Tigers victory was never in doubt as Chapel Hill built a 51-6 halftime lead.

Sharp out: Carrboro’s Trai Sharp, who was the area’s leading rusher before last week, missed most of the Jaguars’ 28-6 loss to South Granville with an ankle injury. He sprained his ankle the week before during a 56-14 loss to Pittsboro Northwood.

“He didn’t practice all week,” said Carrboro coach Melvin Griffin. “He tried to go on Friday but couldn’t.”

Sharp, who was averaging 206.5 yards per game and 10.5 yards per carry, had one carry for minus-2 yards against South Granville. Carrboro managed only 24 rushing yards without him.

South Granville’s Earl Green ran for three touchdowns.

Big plays: Eight-man football is known for big plays and St. David’s and Hobgood Academy delivered them during last week’s 56-44 St. David’s win.

There were eight scoring plays of 48 yards or more in a game of wild comebacks. St. David’s led 32-6, but it fell behind 44-32 before rallying for the win.

Hobgood’s Greg Mullins had scoring runs of 2, 61, 50 and 99 yards en route to his 288 yards on 28 carries.

Melvin Briggs ran 55 and 74 yards for scores on the Warriors’ first two offensive plays. He later added touchdown runs of 84 and 4 yards and a 65-yard fumble return. He finished with 289 yards on 17 carries.

Middle Creek improving: Middle Creek coach Mike Castellano said his team still is pursuing a great four quarters in a game. The Mustangs blasted Wakefield 56-28 last week.

“We have to play more consistent for an entire game to be a good team this season,” Castellano said.

Seminoles recruit: Top-ranked Florida State received a commitment from 6-foot-3, 220-pound Charlotte Mallard Creek defensive end Josh Brown following the Seminoles’ 23-17 overtime victory over then-No. 22 Clemson.

“I wanted to be an early commit,” Brown told the 247 recruiting site. “I didn’t want to be the type of player where people are wondering where I’m going to commit to. I only have one goal and that’s all I’m focused on. I’m not focused on getting attention. I knew where I wanted to go from the jump. I want to get it out of the way and focus on my next two seasons and get to college.”

Trojans close again: South Johnston coach Hunter Jenks said it seems like his club is always one play away from turning a loss into a win. The Trojans lost to Fayetteville Cape Fear 30-24 last week.

“I am proud of the effort that we played with,” Jenks said. “Our record (1-4) doesn’t indicate the improvement that we have made. Our four losses are against 4A teams with the combined record of 13-4. We have had a chance to win all of the games in the fourth quarter and had a chance in two out of the four in the last minute of the game.”

The Trojans will have another tough assignment this week against Wilson Fike (5-0), which beat Smithfield-Selma 52-10 last week.

D. Clay Best contributed to this story.

  Comments