SUMRALL – With the Sumrall Bobcats holding on to a touchdown lead, the Purvis Tornadoes had a chance to tie the game after recovering a fumble in the second quarter by Sumrall senior quarterback Dannis Jackson. However, Sumrall’s senior defensive lineman Solomon Landrum shifted the tide with a fumble recovery of his own – the Bobcats’ 15th turnover of the season – and it set up running back Ty’rek Preston’s second of his four-touchdown night.
“Purvis has got a great football program,” Sumrall head coach Shannon White said. “They have a storied tradition there and they have had our number for a while. It’s good to beat them because it’s a district game but it’s also good to beat them because they beat us for a long time. That’s the respect out of them. We beat a good football team tonight and I couldn’t be more proud of our guys”
Preston’s four-touchdown night and Sumrall’s defensive line led by Landrum paved the way for the Bobcats’ 35-7 win – its first win over Purvis since 2007.
“It feels incredible,” Landrum said. “We’ve been talking about it all week. We really came out here and executed what we wanted to do, so I’m excited about that. “
Preston’s touchdown in the second quarter helped the Bobcats break away from Purvis and take a 21-7 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Preston continued to find the end zone scoring fromthe 6- and 3-yard lines.
At the same time, Sumrall’s dominant defense, which entered the game with 43 tackles for loss and 14 sacks, held the Tornadoes to just over 100 yards of total offense. Preston finished the game with 96 yards on 17 carries, three rushing touchdowns and a 20-yard touchdown catch.
A large amount of credit on the season, as explained by White, is the amount of maturity the senior and junior classes have, who for several years have had high expectations.
“I couldn’t be more excited for those guys,” White said. “I’m just so proud of them. I know what they have been through. I know the sweat and blood they put into this, and to see them have this kind of success, there’s nothing better in sports than to see some kids work hard and have success.”
Landrum echoed White’s sentiment.
“I really just think that it’s all the work we’ve been putting in for years to come,” Landrum said. “We’ve been through a lot; it’s been rough over the last three years. We got it worked out and we’re ready to go.”
Purvis coach Brad Hankins said the ball just didn’t bounce his team’s way, and that’s something that’s needed to beat a team like Sumrall.
“They are a good football team, and that’s the thing, you have to have some breaks in order to beat those good teams like that,” he said. “And it felt like when we were backed up and when we did get something, we’d get a penalty. Just one of those nights.”
Beating Purvis has only added to the success of Sumrall’s season and the 7-0 start, but for the Bobcats the main goal is to not lose sight of the challenges ahead.
“We take our coaches’ advice and just take this one game at a time. We really put a lot on that,” Preston said. “The main thing is you have got to be focused. You have to be ready to play game to game, take it day by day and be ready to put in the work to win.”