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Two wins to start the season, including one over Pamlico County — last year’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1-A runner-up — impressed the voters as the Princeton football team landed eight in the season’s first state high school football poll by The Associated Press.
The Bulldogs received 26 votes to crack the top 10 in a classification loaded with talent from around the state. With 10 first-place votes, Tarboro commanded the top position in the 1-A poll, followed by Murphy, the defending state champion, with one first-place vote.
Reidsville sits atop the 2-A rankings, after receiving six first-place votes, barely ahead of Shelby with five first place votes. Weddington was tabbed ahead of the rest in the 3-A rankings, while Charlotte Myers Park is the No. 1 team in 4-A for the first time in school history, per the Charlotte Observer.
Bulldogs pound South Lenoir
After the rankings came out, the Bulldogs, coming off a bye, pounded South Lenoir 48-15 on Sept. 13 to justify their standings among the top programs in the state.
By leaping out to a 16-0 lead, Princeton (3-0) scored more points in the opening quarter than the Blue Devils scored the entire game.
Jaydon Brooks and Harley Bartholomew each rushed for a rushing touchdown in the first quarter, followed by successful 2-point conversions. In the second quarter, the Bulldogs put up 16 more points on a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bartholomew and another short rushing touchdown by Brooks. In between the two scores, South Lenoir scored for the first and only time of the half on a 27-yard passing touchdown.
The Bulldogs held the Blue Devils scoreless in the third quarter while scoring eight more points. Then in the fourth, the team piled on one more to a 41-point lead.
Princeton had already reached 48 points by the time South Lenoir scored again on an 18-yard rushing touchdown and 2-point try with time winding down.
Princeton will travel to Wake Christian Academy on Friday hoping to improve to 4-0.