Thursday, 13 September 2018 23:18

A history: Richmond and Purnell Swett football

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ROSports File Photo: Wide receiver Bobby Terry (1) during last year's win over Purnell Swett to open SAC play. ROSports File Photo: Wide receiver Bobby Terry (1) during last year's win over Purnell Swett to open SAC play. Photo courtesy of Jimmy McDonald.

PEMBROKE, N.C. - Last season, Purnell Swett High School was sporting a 3-1 record when it entered Sandhills Athletic Conference play.  Unfortunately, that’s when the season went south for the Rams. 

They dropped their first five conference games in a row before finishing with narrow victories at Hoke (21-14) and at home against rival Lumberton (27-20).

This season, Purnell Swett (2-1) will kickoff SAC play by hosting the Raiders on Friday, Sept. 21, at Big Mo Stadium in Pembroke. The Rams lost a 35-14 decision to Pine Forest (3-1) in their season opener before earning back-to-back victories against Eugene Ashley High School of Wilmington (2-1) and Douglas Byrd High School (1-3).  Swett dominated the Ashley Eagles 34-14 before winning a 21-13 barnburner at Byrd.

The most noteworthy player for the Rams is senior Chandler Brayboy. Brayboy has made his presence known on both sides of the ball this season.  The multi-sport athlete scored all three of Purnell Swett’s touchdowns in the win at Byrd, and racked up some impressive rushing and receiving stats in the victory over Ashley.

Brayboy hauled in 10 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown against Richmond in last year’s meeting at Raider Stadium.

The Raiders and Rams have had one common opponent in Pine Forest.  Both Richmond and Swett struggled to get their offenses going early against the stout Trojan defense.  However, the Raiders had a big night defensively themselves against the Trojans, earning Richmond its 106th all-time shutout in a 28-0 victory at Raiders Stadium.  The Rams scored first against Pine Forest before allowing the Trojans to record the game’s next 35 points in the Week 1 rout.

The Rams enter their game with Richmond after being idle for the last two weeks.  Purnell Swett had a scheduled bye on Sept. 7, but their Sept. 14 game against John Hoggard High School of Wilmington was canceled due to a visit by Hurricane Florence.

History favors the Raiders in this one.  Richmond is 32-2-1 all-time in the series and has outscored the Rams 1410-298.  The Raiders have scored 50 points or more in the last six meetings and have defeated Swett by at least three touchdowns in 26 of the 35 contests.

Raider sophomore quarterback Caleb Hood and his predecessor Leon Zeigler have given Purnell Swett fits over the last three seasons.  In 2015, Zeigler threw six touchdown passes in the game against the Rams, which tied his own school record for most touchdown passes in a game that he set earlier that year against South View. 

In the following year’s meeting with the Rams, Zeigler became the first quarterback in Richmond’s history to complete passes to six different receivers in a single game more than once. 

Hood raised the bar during his freshman year in 2017.  He connected with seven different receivers for 241 yards and a touchdown in last year’s 56-34 home win over Purnell Swett.  Hood also rushed for 31 yards on eight carries and two scores.

One of Richmond’s two losses to Purnell Swett occurred during Richmond’s historic triple-crown run.  The Rams’ 24-21 victory on Homecoming night at Raider Stadium was the only blemish on Richmond’s record during the Raiders’ 1988-90 4A state title seasons.

The Raiders currently enjoy a 23-game winning streak against Purnell Swett, but that run nearly ended in 2011 at another Richmond homecoming game.  The Raiders and Rams battled in a back-and-forth affair with a Purnell Swett touchdown cutting Richmond’s lead to one at 42-41 with just over a minute and-a-half remaining. 

The Rams opted to go for the two-point conversion which resulted in one of the most controversial calls in the series’ history.  Fans in Pembroke still insist that their Rams should have taken the lead on the play, but officials ruled that Swett’s Juan Jones was pushed out of bounds by Richmond’s Steve Houston just outside of the goal line.

The ROSports team will be on hand as conference play kicks off next Friday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Pembroke.