Nov 22, 2012
A total of 79 high schools play 1-A football in North Carolina, and 64 of them make the state playoffs. That explains how Princeton High School made the field with a 2-8 regular season record.
Since the playoffs started, the Bulldogs are trying to show why they belong, and they've had success.
For much of the season it has been a work in progress for Princeton, but now at that work is paying off.
"It's been a David and Goliath all year. We have felt like that we have been the little guy coming into the fight, but the heart and the belief these kids have, they have never once doubted themselves," said Derrick Minor, the head football coach at Princeton.
Princeton finished next to last in the Carolina 1-A Conference, only ahead of Spring Creek. The Bulldogs started the season with a four-game losing streak, won two in a row, then lost their last four going into the playoffs. But now they're back on a three-game winning streak.
After three upsets in the playoffs, Princeton is now just one game away from the state championship, and even if they win it, they'll finish the season with a losing record.
"I don't think it's really hit me yet, making it to the fourth round, but it's indescribable really," said Michael Wooten, the quarterback for the now 5-8 Princeton Bulldogs.
"We could have given up easily, but we didn't. We kept pushing, we kept fighting," said lineman Matt Peedin. "The people that kept doubting us, we just said, 'Forget you all. We're just going to follow the people that do believe in us,' and look where we're at now."
With three wins in the playoffs, Princeton has more postseason wins than regular season wins this season.
"One more week. That's what I tell them every Thursday before we go into the game," said Minor.
There is no Thanksgiving break for Princeton's football team this year because they're preparing for a trip to Plymouth for the Eastern Regional Final – and that's something they're all thankful for.