PRINCETON — The lightning surrounding Fred L. Bartholomew Stadium wasn’t coming just from Mother Nature, but also from Princeton junior runningback Johnny Frazier.
The Bulldog junior ran for 181 yards on 18 carries, scoring three touchdowns in Princeton’s season opening 52-22 victory over East Carteret.
Frazier also scored on a 28-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Michael Wooten. Frazier’s nickname is “Rocket,” and it showed.
“[This win] feels amazing,” said Frazier. “It’s what we’ve been waiting for since February.”
East Carteret couldn’t get anything going in the first quarter. The Mariners only ran eight offensive plays in the entire quarter, and only had one first down.
Princeton, however, had two possessions in the first quarter, and the Bulldogs found the end zone both times. Sophomore Nick Hare scored for six yards out to cap a 12-play, 78-yard scoring drive. Wooten hit Frazier on a big 10-yard pass play on fourth-and-9 to keep the drive alive. After Wooten’s 2-pt conversion, Princeton led the Mariners 16-0.
Princeton found pay dirt again to start the second quarter, with Frazier running a pitch around the left side for a 77-yard touchdown run – his second of the night. Sophomore Nick Hale also got into the scoring column in the first half, running for two Bulldog touchdowns.
After a 30-minute lightning delay, the Mariners came out of the gate with a big defensive stand, but could not capitalize. On the very next possession, Wooten found Frazier on a 28-yard scoring strike. The elusive back broke six East Carteret tackles before finding the end zone.
East Carteret’s Tre Stewart ran back the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to end the Mariners’ scoring drought as well as the first half.
Princeton’s offense cooled in the third quarter, but the defense cranked up. Bulldog senior Reggie Perry picked off East Carteret quarterback Brennan Lewis’s pass at the Princeton 2-yard line. Perry ran it back 98 yards before having it called back for an illegal block. Lewis finished the night 10-for-16 and 221 yards, with a TD and two interceptions.
Princeton gave up a safety on a bad punt in the third quarter. East Carteret would add another touchdown in the quarter, with senior Xavier Fallin punching it in from two yards out.
The fourth quarter featured Frazier again, as he handled the first leg of a TD scoring reverse play to Martice Williams. Frazier added his fourth TD from four yards out to end the Bulldog scoring.
“Tonight was one of those nights where we challenged the guys that we were gonna let loose,” said Princeton coach Derrick Minor. “Everything tonight was firing on all cylinders.”