PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - "We just remember like, what next?" said Purvis High School senior offensive lineman Hogan Nelson. "We have nothing."
Long after the have ashes settled, the Purvis Tornadoes still vividly remember the August afternoon their fieldhouse burnt to the ground two years ago.
With all of their equipment gone, save but two sets of shoulder pads and two helmets, the Tornadoes wouldn't let their 2014 season go up in flames too, as they would advance to the South State Championship game.
"We always said a minor setback for a major comeback," Nelson said. You know, that's what we were saying all year. No doubt it fueled our flame to want to play better and do better for Purvis."
Now in 2016, Purvis is ready for an even bigger comeback, coming off a region championship in 2015 and stepping into a brand new fieldhouse; a facility that feels like the Taj Mahal compared to where the Tornadoes trained the past two years.
"No air conditioning," remembers Purvis senior safety Conner Cook. "Called it the hot box."
"We'd be in there, we'd have all the doors closed and there'd just be condensation dripping off the walls," Nelson said.
But even with the brand new facility they've just received, the Tornadoes still know nothing is given to them on the football field.
"It's a great facility and we've enjoyed it," said Purvis head coach Perry Wheat. "And it's a source of pride for our team but it's still not going to determine how we play on Friday's. That's the main thing for us."
"We had nothing [in 2014] and we still had a good season," Cook said. "It just shows you don't really have to have anything. But now that we have everything you could ever wish for, we've got to build off that."
With its new fieldhouse, Purvis football takes nothing for granted.
Even though they dropped their first game of the season, the Tornadoes have bounced back from much worse.
"We came in here, first workout, probably the best workout we've had since the fieldhouse burned down," Nelson said. "And we knew all the support we got from the community, just to have this, we knew we had to do something special to show them how grateful we really are for it."
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