PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - Purvis High School found itself trailing 7-0 to rival Sumrall High after its first defensive series on Saturday night. The Tornadoes began the drive from their own 20 yard line. The first play call was a hand-off to no. 4...it took him one touch, on his team's first offensive series, to do what the Bobcats took about eight or ten plays to do.
"I just busted it out, and aint nobody catching me," said a smiling and laughing Thamaz Taylor. The senior running back took a pop from a Bobcat linebacker, kept his balance, his momentum, and sprinted 80 yards to the house for his team's first score of the night.
"My line told me they were just going to block and they just said, 'just run the ball,'" said Taylor. Guess he follows advice well.
"When he gets a step in the secondary, he usually takes it all the way," said Purvis Head Coach Perry Wheat. It was just the start of a monstrous night for Taylor, who earned Player of the Week honors.
Taylor rushed 23 times for a total of 234 yards and three touchdowns; all three scored in the first half. Purvis went on to win 54-21. "He's had some big games for us before, and he's just a big play guy," said Wheat.
Making things a little sweeter, he shined on one of the biggest stages of the year for his team: the Battle of 589. "It means a lot. We practice hard, and I had to do a little bit on my own to get ready for it," the Tornadoes running back said. He also showed his senior leadership when he practiced on the soaked field at Purvis to prepare for the team's Saturday night contest, which had to be pushed back from Friday due to Hurricane Isaac.
"He deserves everything he gets," says Wheat, "He's worked awful hard, and he's really come on as a leader for our football team."
But Taylor feels like that won't be the last time we hear about him or the Tornadoes. In fact, his goal very closely matches a skill he's been very capable of performing all season so far. "We're trying to get to the next level," he says, "state champions baby."