By Michael Jaenicke
The Duplin Times
CALYPSO — Lamarr Williams is a catch-and-run weapon, even though he’s heavy on the run and light on the catch.
After Wilkins’ hands squeezed the hiked ball from center, his legs and the blocking schemes of Princeton proved old-style single-wing football and “bend but don’t break” defense is alive and kicking in prep football.
Wilkins weaved his way through the Bulldogs’ blocking lanes, left, right and center for 310 yards and four TDs to take down North Duplin 38-14 last Friday at H.E. Grubbs Field.
If Wikins played like a uncaged dog, it was because he missed last week’s easy 69-14 win over Hobbton.
And because he wanted to exact revenge on the Rebels, who beat the Bulldogs 40–39 last season in Princeton.
“I had a lot of energy inside up me to let go of tonight,” said Wilkins, who has Princeton (7-0, 3-0) wins over Lakewood and Rosewood from clinching the Carolina 1A Conference title. “This is payback from last year when we should have beaten them.
The loss dropped the defending CC champs to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the league.
North Duplin came away empty in the red zone twice, yet the biggest difference was Princeton’s senior-oriented offensive line and ND’s more youthful defense. ND’s heavy graduation losses from last year’s 1A final team helped create the mismatch.
ND hung with Princeton early and late. But the middle of the game was all about the Bulldogs.
“It was special to see our offensive line block like they did,” said Princeton coach Travis Gaster. “And sometimes we don’t make the right call as coaches and Lamarr makes us look good.”
North Duplin coach Hugh Martin said his team got beat both up front and by Wilkins.
“We didn’t do a good job getting to him to try to keep him from getting his shoulders squared up,” he said.
“That’s a credit to them for keeping us from having any kind of penetration, movement to get over there before he could get going. He’s too good of a back to allow him to turn his shoulders like that.”
Princeton unapologetically fed Wilkins the ball, early and often.
His first three scores put Princeton in front 38-7 by halftime. Wilkins had TD runs of 75, 50, 9 and 4 yards.
North Duplin turned away Princeton 5 yards from a score in its only meaningful drive of the second half.
ND crafted a 15-play, 94-yard march, which was capped by a Saul Mendoza score as the lone TD of the second half.
Key plays were a 21-yard run by Mendoza on third-and-3 and a 27-yard reception by D.J. Simmons on third-and-7,
But the drive chewed 6:01 off the clock, which was on Princeton’s side.
“We were clearly better in the second half and I was proud our kids didn’t quit,” Martin said. “I was real pleased with that effort.
“We do have a lot of young players in key spots. We just couldn’t get stops in the first half. The single wing keeps you away from the point of attack, and we were unable to break through to get there too much of the time.”
ND showed spunk early when Luis Olivos’ 36-yard scamper led to a two-yard plunge by Mendoza to give the Rebels a 7-6 edge after two possessions.
But Wilkins ran off runs of 30, 2, 4, 4 and 9 yards to up the ante to 14-7
The Bulldogs stopped North Duplin on three downs and five plays later Wilkins ran for a TD and a two-point conversion to give Princeton a comfortable 22-7 lead.
ND then drove to the Princeton 7 but was turned away following a sack by Harley Bartholomew, a procedure penalty and an incomplete pass by Gage Outlaw on fourth-and-goal from the 12.
Princeton, ranked No. 11 in the AP’s poll for 1A schools, will host Lakewood on Friday for Senior Night.
The Bulldogs travel to archrival Rosewood on Nov. 2, where the CC title will likely be decided.
Rosewood beat Lakewood 43-13 on Oct. 12.