Princeton’s Johnny Frasier and Garner’s Nyheim Hines typically notch notable statistical numbers every Friday night they hit the football field. That was the case again last Friday in a historical sense.
Frasier, who ran for 249 yards and four touchdowns in Princeton’s 67-30 victory over North Duplin, passed Mike Atkinson as the school’s career rushing yardage leader.
Atkinson finished his legendary career (1977-80) in Bulldog blue with 6,221 career rushing yards. Frasier, a senior who has verbally committed to Florida State, now has 6,282 yards rushing. His four touchdowns moved him within striking distance of the top 10 in career rushing touchdowns with 86.
In Garner, Hines crossed the 6,000-yard career threshold with his 134-yard night in the Trojans’ victory over Knightdale. Hines has 6,109 yards in his career.
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Entering this season, only 23 players in NCHSAA history had ever rushed for more than 6,000 yards.
Hines, an undecided senior who played in front of coaches from Duke (head coach David Cutcliffe) and Florida on Friday, is closing in on the most legendary of Trojan records: Anthony Barbour’s career rushing yardage mark. Barbour, now an assistant coach at Clayton High, ran for more than half of those yards while helping lead Garner to the 1987 4A state championship.
Hines needs 299 yards to pass Barbour, who totaled 5,806 yards at Garner. Remember, Hines’ freshman year yardage (602 yards) was compiled at Leesville Road.
Frasier is now 16th on the state’s career rushing yardage list and will break into the top 10 if he can get close to 7,000 yards. His mark is already the highest ever by a Johnston County runner.
Hines, meanwhile, is the second runner from Wake County to rush for more than 6,000 yards in a career. He trails only Cary grad Josh Adams (2002-05) who had 7,220 career rushing yards. Adams is eighth all time in the state.
The state has two 10,000-career yard rushers: Kevin Parks (10,895, West Rowan, 2006-09) and Toney Baker (10,241, Ragsdale, 2001-04).
Two Rivers race: The final two weeks of the Two Rivers 3A Conference race are going to be great with all four Johnston County teams in line for a share of the conference championship. I could see a scenario where we get no upsets the rest of the way, plenty of upsets the rest of the way, a three-way tie, an outright champion, you name it. Nothing is off of the table.
Enjoy it, it could be one of the most memorable football season finishes we’ve ever seen. And by enjoy it, I really mean get yourself to at least one of these games. Because you will enjoy it.
A brief football rant: Back when bowl game appearances were special achievements in college football, bowl eligibility meant something. These days when all it takes is a .500 record (6-6) to get into a bowl, it doesn’t mean much in my book.
And many of my fellow media members just love to note “bowl eligible” as some kind of achievement for a team. I define bowl eligibility a different way. It goes down as being barely relevant in my book.
If all you’re after is a bowl bid, you deserve to play in a bowl played before Christmas.
Likewise, I don’t need to know in October that a team with a very good record — say 6-1 or 5-2 — is approaching bowl eligibility or now officially bowl eligible. So, for example (and I don’t think it’s going to happen or wish it to happen) if Duke loses out and finishes at 6-6, that isn’t much an achievement, unless you want your season highlight video to feature big plays from the game where you achieved bowl eligibility. And if that’s the case, maybe bare relevance should be your program’s top goal.