David Payne blew past 1,000 season passing yards Friday in a 24-21 win over the Brooklyn Hurricanes.
The junior quarterback only needed 24 yards to reach the mark and hit it on his third completed pass.
Payne threw for 248 passing yards on the night with 126 to freshman Dathian Haynes.
Four straight completions with under two minutes to play in the game and a three-yard run into the endzone by Elijah Bugg gave the Phoenix the lead.
Mark Robinson Jr. intercepted a pass on Brooklyn’s first drive after the touchdown with 45 seconds remaining to secure an Oberlin win.
“I think, just all around, the kids played some of their best games of the year,” said head coach Michael Law. “I’m so proud of our kids. So many kids stepped up in huge ways for us today.”
The Hurricanes took an early lead on 57-yard TD pass in the first quarter but it did not last.
Bugg ran for 119 yards in the first half and with the help of Payne’s arm the Phoenix marched down the field and scored. Oberlin was unable to attempt the extra kick because of a bad hike, leaving Brooklyn with a 7-6 lead.
Malik Aguiniga tackled Brooklyn’s Shawn Bailey behind the line of scrimmage, dropping him for three yards.
The Phoenix started with the ball in great field position and after numerous runs from Bugg and a 22-yard pass to Journey Toole the boys were in the redzone, but could not find the endzone.
Robinson recovered a Hurricanes fumble at Oberlin’s three yard line and Phoenix rushers moved the ball up to the 35.
Payne only needed three plays to get his team into the endzone — a 35-yard pass to Haynes, 16-yard run by Bugg, and a 19-yard pass to Toole.
The Phoenix also completed a two-point conversion toss to Bugg to take the lead 14-7 with under a minute to play before halftime.
Oberlin’s defense did not give up a single yard after scoring and knocked Brooklyn for 25 yards.
Payne continued to put the ball in Bugg’s hands for 60 yards on seven carries but a bad hike and multiple penalties stopped the Phoenix from scoring. The team settled for a 32-yard kick from Justin Mason to extend the lead to 17-7.
Hurricanes quarterback John Kenderes found Mark Smith for a 40- and 33-yard touchdown passes to give Brooklyn a 21-17 lead.
The Phoenix offensive took to the air and Payne nailed a 65-yard pass to Haynes. Brooklyn prevented Oberlin from scoring and forced the Phoenix to turn the ball over on downs.
Toole caught three passes for 46 yards in Oberlin’s winning drive down the field.
Law said penalties and Brooklyn’s skilled players made the night difficult his team.
“(Smith’s) a phenomenal football player and he made some plays where I think our guys were in great positions,” he said. “A lot of credit has to be given to them because they’re a much-improved ball club.”
Oberlin will host the Columbia Raiders at 7 p.m. Friday for its Senior Night game to wrap up the season.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Que Freeman holds onto the ball as two Brooklyn defenders try to rip it from his hands.