SUMRALL, Miss. (WDAM) _ Since dropping its first three football games of the 2019 season, Purvis High School has been throwing its weight around.
Thursday night, the Tornadoes shrugged off Sumrall High School’s best shots before seizing control and claiming a 28-17 Region 7-4A victory.
Purvis, which logged its fifth consecutive victory, trailed twice early before scoring late in the second quarter to grab a 21-17 halftime lead.
The Tornadoes (5-3, 2-0 Region 7-4A) shut out the Bobcats in the second half, limiting Sumrall (3-5, 0-2) to 22 yards on 14 plays.
“Our defensive adjustments in the second half and the focus of out guys in the second half, that was big,” Purvis coach Brad Hankins said. “We got a couple of stops, and that was huge for us, to keep the momentum on our side.”
The Bobcats proved to be a first-half handful, taking leads of 7-0 and 17-14 as sophomore quarterback John Ford completed 11-of-18 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters.
But Ford completed just two passes for 6 yards in the second half as the Tornadoes stymied the Bobcats’ offense.
“We just never got anything going in the third quarter,” Sumrall coach Shannon White said. “We went three-and-out on the first two possessions, and that just not good.
“We had a good night offensively, but not for four quarters.”
Sumrall started the game with a bang, taking the opening kickoff 62 yards on six plays, with Ford hitting junior Hayden Barrett on 33-yard post route to put the Bobcats up 7-0.
Purvis needed just two plays to answer. Junior Ty Badon lost 3 yards on first down, then found a crease up the middle on second, sprinting 61 yards to pull the Tornadoes within 7-6.
Purvis then pulled off the first of two, special plays on special teams. Following Badon’s big run, the Tornadoes recovered an on-side kickoff, setting themselves up a short field.
Despite a personal foul penalty that cost Purvis 15 yards of field position, junior quarterback Hunter Robinson was able to get the Tornadoes into the end zone in six plays.
Robinson completed key passes of 12 yards and 44 yards to senior tight end Jesse Johnson. The former went for a first down on second-and-7, the latter, a deep slant that went for a go-ahead touchdown.
Robinson slipped into the end zone for the 2-point conversion to put the Tornadoes ahead 14-7.
But Sumrall wasn’t done.
The Bobcats ate up the rest of the first quarter, kicking a 27-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to cut their deficit to 14-10.
Then after forcing a Purvis three-and-out, Sumrall grabbed a 17-14 lead.
A 58-yard pass from Ford to sophomore Tyler Daniels took the Bobcats from deep in their territory to the Tornadoes’ 15-yard line. Five plays later, senior fullback Carson Duck bulled his way for a 5-yard touchdown.
But that was Sumrall’s final hurrah.
Purvis took its next possession 68 yards in 11 plays, converting a pair of third downs, including a third-and-12 on a 20-yard completion from Robison to senior Cole Chabert.
Senior Kaden Wines scored on a 7-yard run and senior Savanna Cooper kicked the first extra-point of her career to leave the Tornadoes ahead 21-17 at the break.
Cooper, a soccer player who had answered an APB for tryouts after Purvis’ placekicker was injured, was mobbed by her teammates amid a standing ovation from the Tornadoes’ sideline.
She tacked on a second extra point in the third quarter when Robinson found Johnson with a 17-yard touchdown pass on third-and-4.
Badon rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries for Purvis, while Johnson had four catches for 106 yards and two scores.
Duckworth led Sumrall’s ground game with 31 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Barrett had three catches for 56 yards and a score.
“It’s a good one to get, and it’s another one in the bank,” Hankins said. “We’ll enjoy this one for a little bit, but then it’s on to get ready for the next one.”
Purvis will host Poplarville High School at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18.
Sumrall will host Forrest County Agricultural High School at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18.