Both Purvis and Forrest County AHS find themselves in similar must-win situations.
Last week’s 35-7 loss to Poplarville deepened Purvis’ hole in region play with an 0-3 start. FCAHS was off to an 0-2 start, but with Sumrall having to forfeit last week, it put the Aggies in the hunt for the playoffs.
“We have a test,” Purvis coach Brad Hankins said. “Hopefully, we will get some guys back from corona and get back on the right track. Forrest County, they are good. They have a good football team. We have to figure out something.
“The other night, we were very inconsistent offensively. I thought, defensively, our plan was pretty good. Offensively we were so inconsistent. We just have to get better on that side of the ball.”
Both teams will need to win out in order for a possible three-way tie and force tiebreakers to have a chance to get into the playoffs. If either team loses then, they will be eliminated from the playoffs.
Purvis will notably return nine players that the team lost due to COVID-19, which includes Ty Badon, who is tied for a team-leading four rushing touchdowns.
“I’m not sure how many days of practice they will get and all that,” Hankins said. “We are trying to come up with a plan to work them in some. They probably won’t be in shape to play the whole ball game. We’ll see what we can do with those guys and maybe some package stuff with them.”
FCAHS (2-2, 1-3) has struggled, but Hankins believes that the Aggies’ athleticism boosts the team’s talent. FCAHS has given up 34 points per game while Purvis has averaged 22 points per game on offense.
“They are athletic,” Hankins said. “Their kids play hard, and that’s been a staple out there for a long time. They play hard, and they slide around defensively. Their secondary has guys that can cover and really run.
“They are going to attack you defensively. They will load the box, especially against us. We want to run the football, and we will see some seven and eight man boxes. We have to make sure that we block who we are supposed to block and doing what we are supposed to doing.”
On the opposite sides of the ball, FCAHS has scored 13 points per game on offense, while Purvis has held teams to 19.5 points per game.
“Offensively, if you end up in the wrong gap, then it could be a big problem,” Hankins said. “We can’t look too far ahead. We have to make sure that we are doing what we are supposed to do in this one.
“Our backs are against the wall. You are either going to win and continue to have the hope that you continue your season. I think our kids will respond. It’s laid out there for us. We have a one-week season, so to speak.”