PURVIS, MS (WDAM) - Situated 19 miles apart, Forrest County Agricultural High School and Purvis High have engaged in a long, time-tested football rivalry.
This year, the teams meet with the Class 4A playoffs at stake.
While the exact postseason scenarios are myriad, in part depending on the outcome of another Region 7-4A game between Sumrall and Greene County high schools, Purvis (4-5, 2-2) and FCAHS (5-5, 1-3) both need a win to remain in the conversation for the most part.
"There're several scenarios, and I wouldn't know where to start," FCAHS coach Jeff Stockstill said. "But, they all revolve around a win for us, so, it's a must-win for us."
Purvis coach Perry Wheat said while he sorted through the various possibilities, the Tornadoes are approaching the game as a win-or-go-home contest.
"That's basically what it comes down to," Wheat said. "That's the way we feel about it. We win, we go on and it doesn't matter what else happens. We win, and we get to go on to the playoffs. If we don't, we could end up at home.
"We're not going to worry about the point-spread stuff (for tie-breaking possibilities regarding playoff seeding). We're going to try and play (well) and everything will work out."
Purvis, which struggled early to get points on the scoreboard, has averaged 44.5 points in its four Region 7-4A games, including taking Greene County to four overtimes and scoring 34 points against region champion Poplarville High School.
"We've kind of flipped seasons," Stockstill said. "We played pretty well early in the year and then we struggled late. They struggled early in the year and it looks like they're going to finish hot.
"But I expect a good, old-fashioned football rivalry game in the South. They're the same in every community and the attention's a little higher. We're going to do our best to slow them down."
Wheat said he had been impressed with the Aggies' defense.
"They're going to play hard and they play good defense," Wheat said. "You look back at their schedule, they haven't given up a lot, and they would have given up less had they been able to possess the ball (on offense) more.
"Defensively, they get after it, and it's going to be a challenge to move the football."