Three straight losses to start the season were not what the Purvis Tornadoes wanted. Something changed after their third loss and since then they have won four straight games and have averaged 32 points per game in those victories.
Not only has the offense stepped up their game, but so has the defense. This weekend saw senior linebacker Eli Barrett sniff out the Stone offense, totaling 17 tackles with nine of those tackles being solo. Barrett also helped the Tornado offense convert on a two-point conversion catching a pass. With the help of Barrett, Purvis defeated Stone 42-40 in overtime Saturday.
"Eli is our quarterback on defense. He gets everybody lined up and makes the calls out there. He does a great job. He's a three-year starter, he's been in there when the fire is hot and the grease is burning. Those moments aren't too big for him and he plays his tail off. He's undersized but he plays as hard as anyone around plays. That's why we love him on this team,' said head coach Brad Hankins.
Barrett has totaled 66 tackles so far on the season, with 16 coming against Seminary and his season-high 17 against Stone. He also has one fumble recovery on the season.
Coach Hankins talked about what has changed since going on a four-game winning streak.
“The kids have bought into the things we’ve tried to work on and put together. We’ve gotten healthy. That is the big thing. We have gotten some key pieces to the puzzle back that we were missing early. I think we’ve played well defensively, too. Our kids have kind of understand the scheme a little better, and the more they see and the more they are in the fire the better tend to gain the knowledge that helps them tremendously.”
Barrett was motivated to play Stone who he said was expecting to get a win over his Tornadoes.
“We expected them to want to come out and win because they said they would put 50 on us. We just had the mindset to get out there and prove we could win. I like that they tried to run the ball at us because that motivates me more and makes me better.”
Hankins also discussed how it was challenging having to cancel the contest Friday night and to get ready to play at Pearl River Community College Saturday morning.
“Last week was homecoming week and there were a lot of distractions because of that, but when we did decide to cancel Friday night it was a letdown for the kids because they wanted to play in front of everyone Friday night. We had to get everyone up early Saturday morning to get them ready. We got them here, gave them some Ward’s biscuits, and got on the bus to go to work. You have to make the best of every situation and I think we did that.”
Purvis travels to Sumrall this Friday night to face the Bobcats where they have gone 9-1 in their last 10 regular-season meetings. Sumrall did defeat Purvis in last season's contest.
Congratulations to Eli Barrett, our Sports601 Powerade Player of the Week for the Forrest, Lamar, and Covington County area!