RAEFORD — Riding to the Sandhills Athletic Conference football media day at Bayonet Golf Course at Puppy Creek on Sunday, Purnell Swett head coach Jon Sherman filled in his two player representatives, Chandler Brayboy and Micah Carter, of what to expect at the event.
“I told the guys on the car ride here, that we are going to be voted last again and some people won’t even vote us in,” Sherman said. “I don’t think we are respected in terms of what we can from people outside of the other people in the conference.
“Now the coaches in the conference, yeah they respect us.”
For the last four years, Sherman has came to the event and watched his team be picked at or near the basement of the conference in the coaches preseason poll. This year was no different as the Rams were tabbed seventh in the league by the coaches and eighth by the media, while Lumberton was sixth in both polls.
Richmond was tabbed as the coaches’ pick to win the conference and end Scotland’s seven-year run of dominance in the Sandhills Athletic Conference. Scotland was picked by the media to win the conference.
Even with a playoff appearance last year, Sherman said the preseason polls are what he has come to expect for his team.
“We’ve got to start winning some games that we are not supposed to win, but until that happens, nothing is going to change,” he said.
Brayboy, who is coming off a 1,000-yard season running routes for the Rams, said his team has shown signs of change from the past.
“We’re a lot more disciplined,” Brayboy said. “We’ve got a lot more people that love the game and take this serious.”
Purnell Swett finished last year 5-7, with a 2-5 record in the Sandhills Athletic Conference.
Carter will take over the signal-calling duties this year as a junior, and said he has respect to be earned at his position.
“I’m trying to show people that I’m the right person for the job,” Carter said. “I feel like we can get four more wins in the conference.”
Lumberton also finds themselves in the same boat as Purnell Swett.
“We haven’t got any respect, we have to earn it,” Lumberton quarterback Braylan Grice said. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work in the weight room and on the field and to go 100 percent every game.
“We practice how we play. We’ve got a whole bunch of game situations so I feel like we are ready now.”
Lumberton finished seventh last season with a 2-9 overall mark, with one win in league play.
With a new coaching staff that is bringing in changes, some that players like receiver Kwashek Breeden will help the team in the season.
“We’ve got new practice drills and a the whole team is going to be better,” he said.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.