PEMBROKE — Leading into high school football practice starting on July 31, The Robesonian’s sports reporter Jonathan Bym is publishing a countdown of the top 15 players in Robeson County, and Purnell Swett’s Luke Oxendine comes in at No. 9 on the list.
This offseason Oxendine is showing his growth and understanding as a quarterback heading into his senior season, in part that he has shown he has learned from his experience.
“Last year, I tried to make plays when I shouldn’t have and I was throwing picks,” Oxendine said. “I got to calm down and just play football. I have to be the leader because I’m the senior running back and it’s my second year.”
Purnell Swett coach Jon Sherman said that he has noted his growth this offseason and hopes that the growth continues throughout the fall.
“I want Luke to be consistent, to make smart decisions and become our leader to the point where I can trust him to call the plays,” he said.
Oxendine notes how he feels like a bigger and better player now out on the field this summer.
“I feel like I can make the reads better, I’ve gotten faster and stronger and the line has gotten better to give me more time,” Oxendine said.
“Luke is doing a good job for us as far as putting the ball in the right spot. He’s made some mistakes here and there, but as a quarterback I can’t ask any more in terms of how much he’s performing at practice,” Sherman said. “At quarterback you need that guy that you can count on everyday to put the work in and do the best he can.”
Along with Oxendine growing as a passer and leader, the Rams also have the cast around him returning mostly in the skill positions that he facilitates.
“This summer has been better because the wide receivers have been better. They know the routes better,” Oxendine said. “The running backs are better.”
With those around him, Oxendine has lofty goals set for the Rams this year in the new eight-member Sandhills Athletic Conference.
“I want to make sure we go to the playoffs,” he said. “We’ve got to do better than 3-8 and I have to beat Lumberton. That’s a must right now.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.