Dukes fall 48-12 to Broncos in opener

Published 11:43 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

Cumberland County High School’s varsity football team did not get the start to the season it was hoping for Friday night, but amid problems with execution, there were highlights to build on in a 48-12 loss to visiting Franklin High School.

“We knew Franklin was going to be a tough team,” Dukes Head Coach Jamaal Artis said. “We watched them on film. They basically came in, and there was no surprises. They ran everything we thought we prepared the kids for. We just did not execute tonight.”

The Broncos led 16-0 after the first quarter and 28-0 with 6:30 left in the second, but then the Dukes responded. Senior fullback K.J. Copeland created some much-needed momentum for Cumberland with a 28-yard run that took it into Franklin territory. Then on the next play, senior quarterback Ziahir Berry ran the ball 37 yards for the Dukes’ first points of the season.

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Franklin scored again before halftime to take a 34-6 lead into the break.

Only 16 seconds ticked off the clock in the second half before the Broncos scored again, taking the opening kickoff for a score. With a 2-point conversion, Franklin went up 42-6. It extended the lead to 48-6 on a 7-yard run with 5:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.

A key Copeland run helped breath life into Cumberland’s ensuing drive, and after more success in the run game, junior tailback DaJuan Brown capped off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run to make the score 48-12 with 3:13 left in the fourth.

“We had some young guys step up on both sides of the ball and play really well,” Artis said. “We dressed everybody (grades) nine through 12, so we had some kids who stepped up and played in some spots they normally wouldn’t play in. A lot of them did really well. I’m pleased with that, so I guess that’s something we can build on.”

The Dukes have a bye next week, giving them two weeks to work on their execution and prepare for visiting Prince Edward County High School, which comes to Cumberland on Friday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.