South Lenoir falls to Princeton, continues to grow as a team
PRINCETON — Kodjo Missebukpo's grass and dirt-stained jersey told the story.
The hard-nosed back churned out a well-earned 60 yards on 11 carries, and helped direct one late touchdown drive during South Lenoir's 48-15, nonconference loss to unbeaten Princeton on Friday evening.
Despite logging a mere four yards on his first four totes, including two for no gain, the 205-pound sophomore didn't waver against the Bulldogs' physical defensive line. He tallied 56 yards on his final seven carries.
"Kodjo is a great kid, intelligent, understands the game," South Lenoir head coach Jeremy Joyner said. "He's a physical player. I really like what he does...a great linebacker for us, ran the ball hard, is our best back in pass protection.
"I'm really excited about his growth and maturity. He's going to continue to get better."
Backfield mate Zay Mitchell turned in a 69-yard performance for the Blue Devils, who suffered their first defeat in five meetings against the Bulldogs. South Lenoir amassed 152 yards on the ground, along with 160 through the air on 11 completions from sophomore quarterback Jon Howard. Howard spread the wealth among five receivers, including a 26-yard touchdown strike to Joseph Cobb.
Cobb reeled in five receptions for 63 yards.
Down 16-0 early in the second quarter, South Lenoir (1-2) forced a turnover on downs with its back toward the end zone.
Howard and Missebukpo handled the workload as the Blue Devils moved from their own 19-yard line to the Bulldog 44. On the next play however, Princeton's Harley Bartholomew picked off a Howard pass and returned it to 60 yards for a touchdown.
SL finished with three turnovers on the night.
"That was tough," Joyner siad. "We're a young team, it's going to happen. We've got to learn from it, we've got to grow from it, we've got to understand what we're supposed to do in certain situations, read our coverage [and] understand our routes.
"It's just a growth process between our quarterbacks and receivers."
The Blue Devils entertain Spring Creek next Friday.
EXTRA POINTS: SL is 4-1 all time against Princeton. ... The Bulldogs extended their regular-season win streak to 14 games. ... Carson Stroud tallied the Blue Devils' second touchdown, a 19-yard run that capped a penalty-free, 12-play drive that ate nearly nine minutes off the clock. ... SL owned a 59-41 edge in total offensive plays.
Princeton 48, South Lenoir 15
South Lenoir 0 7 0 8 — 15
Princeton 16 16 8 8 — 48
P — Brooks 13 run (Brooks run), 7:46
P — Bartholomew 5 run (Brooks run), 2:18
P — Bartholomew 60 interception return (Brooks run), 8:46
SL — J. Cobb 26 pass from Howard (Missebukpo kick), 3:55
P — Brooks 4 run (Brooks run), 1:00
P — Brooks 70 run (Blevins run), 8:11
P — Dev. Richardson 2 run (Dev. Richardson run), 10:35
SL — Stroud 19 run (Mitchell run), 1:45
First downs 15 17
Rushes-yds 36-152 39-417
Passing 11-22-2 2-5-0
Passing yds 160 50
Total yards 312 467
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Punts-yds 3-31.6 0-0
Penalties-yds 12-114 4-40
RUSHING — South Lenoir: Joseph Cobb 4-11, Kodjo Missebukpo 11-60, Jon Howard 5-(-minus 13), Macias Blount 1-(minus-3), Cannon Davis 1-3, Zay Mitchell 10-69; Carson Stroud 3-25. Princeton: Jayden Brooks 13-185, Harley Bartholomew 9-93, Scott Vollgrebe 1-65, Seth Blevins 3-7, Blake Raynor 4-38, Deviyeh Simmons 2-24, Paul Edens 1-7, Devontay Richardson 3-10; Team 3-(minus-12).
PASSING — South Lenoir: Howard 11-22-2, 160. Princeton: Raynor 2-5-0, 50.
RECEIVING — South Lenoir: Robert Cobb 2-23, Jonathan Haddock 1-33, J. Cobb 5-63, Jayden Wooten 2-26, Brett Huffman 1-15. Princeton: Blevins 1-40, Edens 1-10.