As bad as it’s been for the Purvis Tornadoes, everything is still on the table. Even though they lost their first region game, the Tornadoes still have four more chances to turn things around and make the playoffs for the 12th straight season.
It all starts with Friday a home game against Greene County.
“We’ve told the kids, the thing about it is I can give them four more Friday nights,” Purvis coach Brad Hankins said. “It’s up to them to go get the rest of them. We can go out and run the table and probably win the division, but it’s up to them. They have to make a decision whether they want to hang their heads or get after it.”
Last week, in a 35-7 loss to rival Sumrall, Purvis hung with the undefeated Bobcats for the first 12 minutes. The Bobcats only led 14-7 after the first quarter, but Purvis was outscored 21-0 the rest of the game.
Hankins said his team “shot itself in the foot” a couple of times with penalties and missed assignments, which ended most of the Tornadoes’ drives in the final three quarters. It looked like the first game of the season instead of the fifth, Hankins added, and the team will work on those fundamentals in practice.
“We have to get back to practice and make sure we have all your fundamentals down and all your rules down like who’s got who and how we’re blocking every play. We have to take care of it when they lose focus,” he said.
This week, the Tornadoes’ defense will match up with a Greene County (4-3, 0-1) spread offense that throws the ball nearly as much as it runs it. Junior quarterback Jacob Mitchell has attempted 188 passes – completing 119 – for 1,144 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Six different players have recorded a reception, but junior Drake Henderson leads the way with 421 receiving yards and two scores on 26 grabs.
Running the ball is senior Santez Campbell, who has 503 yards on the ground and six touchdowns on 113 carries. Mitchell is second on the team with 63 attempts and only 124 yards, but no other Wildcat player has more than 10 carries.
“They’re going to spread you out offensively and the quarterback throws the ball really well. All of their receivers can really run,” Hankins said.
Defensively, Greene County has eight team sacks, seven interceptions – led by senior Alex McGee’s three – and three fumble recoveries. Teams are scoring an average of 17 points per game, and before last week’s loss to Poplarville, the Wildcats won four straight after starting the season 0-2.
“Defensively, they’re going to give you a lot of stunts, movement and people come from different angles,” Hankins said. “They have a good football team, no doubt.”