Special to the Journal
OXFORD – It’s hard to defend Oxford when the next playmaker could come from any direction.
The Chargers (13-0) mowed down Pearl on Friday night using five different players to score in a 39-21 victory in the second round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs.
“When you can come out on a night like tonight, when it’s cold, drizzling and wet, and go out and throw a hitch anytime you want to, or throw a slant, you can’t just pick out one receiver, because they’ve got multiple,” said Pearl coach John Perry.
“We ran into quite a little buzzsaw. They are just good,” he added. “We may not have played our best, but that’s because of them playing pretty good.”
Oxford, which will host Callaway in the 5A North finals on Friday, continued its streak of scoring 30-plus points in every game this season.
Jack Abraham completed 25 of 41 passes for 301 yards with four scoring throws while giving up only one interception.
Abraham, who set the school record for TDs in a season with 35, connected with Joey Walden twice, and with DK Metcalf and Kyree White.
“We’ve been great at throwing and running,” said Abraham, a sophomore, who also reached the 3,000-yard mark in passing for the year. “We can run it, and we’ve got a ton of receivers.”
Kenzie Phillips, also a sophomore, led the ground game with 22 carries for 122 yards. Ethan Holmes scored on a 12-yard run and Jarius Barnes reached on a 2-yard bolt in the first half.
The Chargers led 20-7 at halftime.
Pearl, which set a school record with 11 wins this season, took advantage of miscues on two punts to set up short runs. Jordan Wright, a junior, scored a pair of TDs for the Pirates (11-3).
“We’ve got five receivers with up in the 30s in catches,” said Oxford coach Johnny Hill. “You can’t lock down on one. You’ve got to lock down on five. Then we’ve got two good running backs. We’ve got a good one-two punch.”