Poplarville holds on to winning streak against Purvis

Published 11:30 pm Friday, October 21, 2016

By Jacob Kemp
Hattiesburg American
Purvis (6-3, 3-1) and Poplarville (7-1, 4-0) clashed on Friday at Purvis with the top spot in Region 7-4A on the line. Both teams were riding six-game winning streaks, but it was Poplarville who came away with its win streak still intact.
The Hornets blasted the defending Region 7-4A champion Tornadoes 38-6 and took home the honor as well as a number one seed in the 4A playoffs.
What it means
Purvis was stunned in the first half. The Tornadoes were ineffective on offense, producing just 14 total yards at halftime. The defense was solid, but couldn’t contain Poplarville’s rushing attack.
The Hornets jumped out from the get go, opening up the game with a five play, three minute drive to take the early 7-0 lead and never looked back. Purvis showed some fight when it opened up the second half with a score, but it was too little too late.
Purvis’ offense only mustered 104 yards of total offense.
The loss snaps Purvis’ six-game winning streak and also puts them in a tie for second place in Region 7-4A with rival Forrest County AHS. The two will square off next week at Forrest County.
The loss was especially painful for Purvis as quarterback Ty Howell. Howell, who had missed the previous game with a foot injury, was injured again late in the fourth quarter.
For Poplarville, the win puts them the driver’s seat headed into the playoffs. With the region already locked up, the Hornets will need to stave off injury as they head into the final week.
“Everything we thought we need to do to win the game we ended up doing,” Poplarville coach Jay Beech said. “Special teams played great for us. Our defense played lights out. Our defense was so strong that we went for it on fourth and one on the 20 and our defense held them out. Great job by our guys tonight.”
Turning point
Even though Poplarville scored on its opening drive, all was not lost for Purvis. The Tornadoes were given great field position three times in the first half. One off a shanked punt and the other by a fumble recovery by C.J. Bolar. Both opportunities came inside Poplarville’s 30.
However, both chances were wasted. The Tornadoes had another opportunity later in the half when Poplarville elected to go for it inside its own 30 and failed to convert, but the Tornadoes were stifled once again by the Hornets.
“We had some field position early and we just could never do anything with it,” Purvis coach Perry Wheat said. “Their linebackers made some plays. We just weren’t getting to the linebackers and they were getting to us and tackling. So, you just got to give them credit.”
A score on either drive would have boosted Purvis’ morale. But Poplarville’s defense stood tall and forced punts on both drives and effectively allowed it to build a 28-0 lead headed into halftime.
Player of the Game
The Tornadoes game planned for running back Jesse Pernell and Austin Bolton but were not effective in stopping them. Pernell finished with 121 yards on 16 carries for two rushing touchdowns. Bolton complimented Pernell with his lighting quick, change of pace style.
Bolton rushed 15 times for 179 yards and a pair of scores as well. The two rushers were key in Poplarville’s ability to grind away the clock and eat up yardage en route to the win.

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