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Dukes open with 48-12 defeat

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. “… 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 much-needed momentum for Cumberland with a 30-yard run, taking the Dukes into Franklin territory. Then on the next play, senior quarterback Ziahir Berry ran the ball 32 yards for the Dukes’ first points of the season.

Franklin had a 34-6 halftime lead and pushed it to 48-6 in the fourth quarter before Cumberland scored again.

A key Copeland run helped breath life into another Dukes drive, and after more success in the run game, junior tailback DaJuan Brown capped off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown sprint to make the score 48-12 with 3:13 left in the fourth.

Copeland finished with nine carries for 82 yards, and Berry ended up with 13 carries for 55 yards and a score.

“We had some young guys step up on both sides of the ball and play really well,” Artis said, praising sophomore quarterback Ramir Parker sophomore lineman Jaydon Pompei.

The Dukes (0-1) have a bye this week.