PEMBROKE — After an early miscue, it looked like the Red Springs football team might avenge last year’s loss to the Purnell Swett. The Red Devils saw Cody Freeman connect with Eric Graham on a 45-yard touchdown pass to take a 6-0 lead on the Rams after only three minutes of game play.
Unfortunately for the Red Devils, that was the game’s only highlight.
Purnell Swett rolled off the next 34 points of the game, including three rushing touchdowns by Thristian Lowry and a pick six from junior defensive back Luke Brooks to cap of the first half of the game.
Lowry and the other seniors were preaching composure to the team after giving up the early score.
“We knew we were going to bounce back,” he said. “We knew we were going to score. We had practiced good and had faith we were going to score.”
Coach Mark Heil said it was a new feeling for most of the players on this year’s team to build a lead like that after the first half of play.
“We haven’t had a lead like that in four years,” Heil said. “I thought we lost a little bit of our rhythm in the second half which happens sometimes.”
Thristian Lowry said that was the type of offense the team has always known they could put out.
“We always knew we could do it,” he said. “We always work hard in practice and just executed.”
The second half of the game wouldn’t see much offense produced from either team, as the Rams and the Red Devils would battle through a scoreless third quarter with both teams trading long drives that resulted in no points.
The fourth quarter saw the Rams putting in some of their reserves on the offensive side of the football, with James Devon Hunt taking the majority of the carries for Purnell Swett and Josh Brooks taking his first snaps of the season at quarterback.
The Red Devils generated fourth quarter excitement, as Jaime “Julio” Clark took a blocked field goal 82 yards for a touchdown late in the game to narrow the deficite.
“We just kept fighting,” Red Springs coach Ron Cook said. “I feel proud of them the way they were still playing hard. We were better than last week. The score might not tell but we just had a lot of problems running the ball.”
The Rams answered back on their next possession as sophomore James Hunt would rush 55 yards to the one yard line before punching it in for the touchdown that would seal the 41-12 win for the Rams.
“We got to play a lot of people which has helped with our depth,” Heils said. “I’m really happy with what James Hunt. He’s got some talent and I like what he did. We need that because we are really thin at running back.”
Lowry recovered from a rough first possession for the Rams which saw them go three and out, before putting on his best performance of the season to date, totalling 155 yards in the air to go along with one passing touchdowns. Lowry added 29 rushing yards and three touchdowns to boost his stats for the game.
James Devon Hunt added 96 yards on the ground along with Joshua Jacobs who added 77 more. Josh Brooks led all receivers for the Rams with three receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown.
“I think I played good, but credit to the offensive line the way they held up,” Lowry said. “We play like that next week I think we can beat Hoggard.”
Red Springs was never able to get their running game going, seeing their total yardage for the night on the ground held to 92 yards rushing. The passing game didn’t result in many more, with Cody Freeman struggling after the first drive, going 10 for 19 with 105 yards and one interception.
Purnell Swett 41, Red Springs 12
Red Springs 6 0 0 6 — 12
Purnell Swett 13 21 0 7 — 41
RS — 45 yard pass from Freeman to Graham (failed 2 pt conv.)
PS — 20 yard pass from Lowry to J. Brooks (Missed PAT)
PS — 21 yard run by Lowry (PAT good)
PS — 2 yard run by Lowry (PAT good)
PS — 1 yard run by Lowry (PAT good)
PS — 35 yard INT returned by L. Brooks (PAT good)
RS — 82 yard blocked FG returned by J. Clark (failed 2 pt conv.)
PS — 1 yard run by J. Hunt (PAT good)
Passing: PS — Thristian Lowry 11-19-0-155, Josh Brooks 2-2-0-8 RS — Cody Freeman 10-19-1-105
Rushing: PS — James Hunt 10-96, Joshua Jacobs 8-77, Jamel Mitchell 5-30, Thristian Lowry 4-29 RS — Armontae Alford 12-41, Eric Graham 5-27
Recieving: PS — Josh Brooks 3-65, Maleek Lewis 3-40, Jordan Chavis 2-39 RS — Eric Graham 4-52, Michael Govan 4-40