Purvis falls, but clinches playoffsBy BUSTER WOLFE,
PURVIS – Two crucial second-half turnovers, combined with an absence of solid tackling, put the Purvis Tornadoes in the position of counting the points for the playoffs after the Forrest County AHS Aggies took a 35-30 Region 7-4A victory Friday night in Purvis.
Because FCAHS won by less than eight points, Purvis (4-6, 2-3 in 7-4A) finished fourth in the region and will play Mendenhall next weekend in the first round of the playoffs.
Tied 23-23 after three quarters – despite a fumble that gave FCAHS (6-5, 2-3) the ball on its own 34-yard line – the Aggies scored on an 11-yard run by Nathan Whitley. Whitley, Forrest County’s version of “Lightning,” rushed 18 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns to pace both teams.
On the Tornadoes’ next possession, a bad snap that sailed over quarterback Ty Howell’s head for a 26-yard loss was recovered by the Aggies at the Purvis 30-yard line. Five plays later, FCAHS nailed the coffin on the Tornadoes with Whitley’s third TD of the night from 4 yards out.
A despondent Purvis head coach Perry Wheat was obviously unhappy with his team’s defensive performance.
“I just think (FCAHS) brought a little more energy than we did tonight,” he said after the game. “I can’t explain that. I thought they played hard and brought a lot more energy. Whitley did an outstanding job of running the ball and we couldn’t tackle. I think we would have scored more points if we didn’t have those turnovers. I’m disappointed on both sides of the ball.”
In a game where neither team punted the ball, neither one got the ball on downs and there were no interceptions, offense was the name of the game. For Wheat, the Aggies’ offense was apparently unstoppable.
“Their backs broke a lot of tackles,” he said. “We just didn’t get it done. I think energy had a lot to do with it. We were just not on the same level emotionally to play this football game.”
Davonte Dixon of FCAHS was “Thunder” to Whitley’s “Lightning,” collected 82 yards on 18 carries, mostly through the middle of the line.
For Purvis, John Bolton was the leading ground gainer with 17 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Howell finished with 4-of-4 passing on the night for 179 yards and one touchdown – a 67-yard score to C.J. Bolar in the second quarter.
Wheat said the Tornadoes had a few pluses during the contest.
“We did some good things, but we just turned it over,” he said. “And we just didn’t get a stop.”
Forrest County AHS 35,
Score by Quarter
FCAHS 7 13 3 12—35
Purvis 8 7 8 7—30
FCAHS—Clark 1 run (kick unsuccessful) 4:53.
Purvis—Bolton 2 run (run successful) 2:32.
FCAHS—Smith 1 run (kick successful) 11:56.
Purvis–Bolar 67 pass from Howell (kick successful) 11:09.
FCAHS—Whitley 3 run (2-point failed) 4:55.
FCAHS—Bunch 20 field goal, 2:26.
Purvis—Bolton 2 run (2-point successful) 0:53.
FCAHS—Whitley 11 run (kick failed) 8:42.
FCAHS—Whiley 4 run (kick failed) 2:32.
Purvis—Bolton 1 run (kick successful) 0:44.
First Downs 25 11
Rushes-Yards 62-299 28-92
Att-Comp-Int. 8-6-0 4-4-0
Passing Yards 64 179
Total Plays-Yards 70-363 32-271
Punts-Avg. 0-0 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties 5-25 3-25
FCAHS: Whitley 18-158 3TDs, Dixon 18-82, Myers 13-54, Smith 3-7 TD, Clark 10-(-2).
Purvis: Bolton 17-60 2TDs, Howell 11-32, Jaciuk 2-14.
FCAHS: Clark 6-of-8, 64 yds.
Purvis: Howell 4-of-4, 179 yds. TD
FCAHS: Whitley 4-51, Dixon 2-13.
Purvis: Bolar 1-67 TD, Kendrick 1-60, Johnson 2-52.