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Dukes fall at home to Middlesex

Cumberland County High School’s varsity football team improved in some areas but struggled in others Monday night, ultimately falling to 0-2 for the year with a 40-0 loss to visiting Middlesex High School.

Though they were shut out, the Dukes showcased ability to move the ball on offense, benefitting from long gains on the ground.

“We showed flashes,” Cumberland Head Coach Howard Paras said. “The first game, we had some issues with the offensive line. The guys worked really hard at practice to fix that, and I feel like that was fixed tonight, but then we found ways to make other mistakes. So we’ve got to do a better job of preparing them, I’ve got to do a better job of preparing them to not make those mistakes and learn how to stay out of our own way, basically.”

The coach noted that like with his team’s first game this season, he is not questioning his players’ effort.

“I feel like they played really hard,” he said. “Learning how to win is a process. So, we’ve got to learn how to win. We’ve got to learn how to not beat ourselves, how to not cause self-inflicted wounds.”

Cumberland contest against the Chargers was being played Monday because Middlesex was out of school Friday, Sept. 6, due to severe weather.

Individual standouts for the Dukes on Monday that Paras cited included junior Vince Harris Jr., sophomore Brandon Diming, sophomore Nasir McDonald and each member of the offensive line.

Harris led Cumberland on offense with 88 yards rushing and 147 all-purpose yards.

McDonald recorded six receptions for 62 yards, and Diming ran for 32 yards.

On defense, junior Justin Jones registered 10 tackles, junior Muzzammil Fulani produced nine tackles, with one sack and one fumble recovery, and McDonald had seven tackles.

Junior Jaydon Pompey finished with six tackles and one fumble recovery, while senior Trevor Dayton and sophomore Keyshawn Faurcard had one sack apiece.

“We’re getting there in baby steps,” Paras said. “Like I said, we fixed one thing, something else popped up. So, now we’re going to address that, and hopefully we won’t make those same mistakes on Friday.”

On Friday at 7 p.m., the Dukes (0-2) host Nottoway High School (1-1) which played its week two game Tuesday.