After a last-minute loss and last-second victory in the first two games of the season, Oberlin’s win Friday over John Adams was short on drama and long on points.
The Phoenix soared 50-6 over the Rebels with quarterback David Payne throwing for three touchdowns and the Phoenix defense dominating a mistake-prone Rebels offense.
Receiver Caleb Hughley set the tone early on a handoff from Payne, running right, then cutting back to the left sideline for a 48-yard touchdown. He then kicked an extra point to make it 7-0 with 9:39 remaining in the first quarter.
“A run like that brought a lot of energy to me and to my team,” Hughley said. “I just pray to God and hope we keep doing well.”
A 30-yard completion from Payne to tight end Journey Toole set up Ramarie’a Eissom’s one-yard touchdown. Hughley made the extra point to give Oberlin a 14-0 lead with 6:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Running back Devan Yarber followed a 25-yard scamper with a five-yard touchdown run up the middle, making it 20-6 with 5:13 left in the first quarter. That extra point went wide.
The Rebels responded with their only touchdown, a leaping 12-yard grab in the left corner of the end zone by running back Robert Ramsey from quarterback Deeshawn Morgan. After a missed extra point, it was 20-6 with 10:33 left in the second quarter.
It was all downhill afterward for the Rebels, who were plagued by several snaps over Morgan’s head throughout the game and unable to run or throw effectively against the Phoenix.
With the Oberlin coaches warning against over-confidence — “We’re not playing hard!” assistant coach Anthony Carbone told the offense — the Phoenix responded quickly to the Rebels’ score. Payne lofted a six-yard touchdown to Hughley in the right corner of the end zone. Hughley, covered by two defenders, made a leaping grab to give Oberlin a 26-6 lead with 3:33 remaining in the second half.
“The guy was holding on to my jersey and holding on to my arm so it was really hard to catch the ball,” Hughley said. “Somehow, I just put it straight to my chest and came down with it.”
Eissom then stepped in front of a Rebels running back and made an interception on the following possession. He ran it back for a 35-yard touchdown and Hughley made the extra point, giving Oberlin a 33-6 lead with 3:17 left in the half.
After the Rebels turned it over on downs, Payne hit Toole on a left post pattern for a 22-yard touchdown as the clock hit zero. Hughley connected on the extra point, giving the Phoenix a 40-6 lead at halftime.
A safety on a botched snap on an end zone punt gave Oberlin a 42-6 lead with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter. Payne followed with a 12-yard touchdown on a left post pattern to Mark Robinson. Payne then hit Toole over the middle on a two-point conversion for Oberlin’s final score with 9:09 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Hughley, Robinson, and Toole’s performances were marked improvements from Oberlin’s Sept. 2 last-second triumph over Brookside when they all dropped a few passes.
Coach Garrett Mack said drops are part of the game and his receivers are hardworking and talented.
“These kids always want to show up and get better,” he said. “They might not always make the play, but that’s high school football.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.
Photos by Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Tight end Journey Toole races down the field after catching a pass in the first half Friday against John Adams. Toole had several receptions in the game including a 22-yard touchdown with no time remaining in the first half.