PEMBROKE — Purnell Swett football coach Jon Sherman can’t deny there is a connection between junior quarterback Luke Oxendine and sophomore wide receiver Chandler Brayboy, and the duo continued to link up for touchdowns and long plays for the second straight game in Thursday’s contest against South Robeson.
Brayboy was on the receiving end of all three of Oxendine’s touchdown passes as the Rams’ first-half flurry of touchdowns helped them defeated the Mustangs 35-8 at home.
“Chandler runs a 4.5 (second 40-yard sprint) and it’s hard to beat that, and Luke’s throwing a decent ball and is putting it in his hands,” Sherman said. “If you’ve got a kid that can run that far and stretch the field and a guy that can at least throw it that far, we’re going to take a shot at it. They’ve got a connection that way.”
Purnell Swett (2-1) scored on its first three drives of the night to take a 21-0 lead with a little more than a minute left in the first quarter. Two of the three scores were courtesy of the Oxendine-Brayboy connection.
“He gets open fast and that’s just how it happens,” Oxendine said. “He brings speed. I just get him the ball, and if he has blocking, he can go.”
On the Rams’ first drive, Brayboy took a shovel pass coming across the formation from six yards out for a touchdown, using the blocking from the offensive line and the wide receivers on the edge. The second score from the pair came late in the first as Brayboy juked free at the line of scrimmage to find the endzone for a 54-yard touchdown.
“Without the offensive line, we couldn’t do anything for one thing. If they couldn’t block, he wouldn’t see me, and if he couldn’t see me, we don’t make the play,” Brayboy said. “I just run, he throws it and I catch it.”
Oxendine went 11-of-17 passing for 203 yards and three touchdowns, and Brayboy hauled in five grabs for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Both players’ final totals were collected in the first half. Brayboy caught a 51-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Rams a 28-0 halftime lead.
“In the first half, offensively we did what we should’ve,” Sherman said. “Defensively, we can’t let certain things get behind us and we’re close to letting that happen. First half I liked, the second half I was very disappointed.”
In the second half, South Robeson (0-3) jumped on two fumbles in Purnell Swett territory that came on the first play of the Rams’ first two offensive series. With two trips deep in opposing territory, the Mustangs brought back one touchdown to show for it.
“We’re so young we’ve just got to learn to finish and capitalize and I think we learned a little bit of that tonight,” South Robeson coach Clay Jernigan said.
Following the second fumble recovery that set the Mustangs up with first-and-goal on the Ram 7-yard line, South Robeson scored on fourth down after being backed up to the 24-yard line with a first-down sack. Quarterback Fabian Hunt connected with Darrius Brown for a nine-yard score to cut the lead to 28-8.
“I thought we played our best ballgame we’ve played all year tonight,” Jernigan said. “That’s probably the best team we’ve played all year.”
The Rams cut out the running game from South Robeson and controlled the line of scrimmage all night to force the Mustangs into passing situations.
“We loaded the box basically and said beat us on the pass if you can,” Sherman said. “We felt like if you do roll out and do pass we will have enough pressure to get inside that.”
Oxendine scored on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter and Al’Drique Thompson led the game with 56 yards on the ground and a first-quarter touchdown.
Hunt went 5-of-12 passing for 41 yards.
“We’ve got to mix up mental errors and turnovers,” Sherman said of his team, who finished with three turnovers in the game.
Next week, Purnell Swett plays at Westover. South Robeson returns to action on Sept. 16 when it hosts Lake View.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.