Story by Buster Wolfe
Sumrall senior running back Ty’Rek Preston plans to pass out highlight reel copies of Friday night’s home game against Purvis to everybody he sees.
No wonder. The hard-nosed runner carried 18 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns – plus a scoring pass for another TD – as the undefeated Bobcats dominated The Battle of 589 with a 35-7 victory over District 7-4A rival Purvis in the teams’ district opener.
Sumrall (7-0), which ended Purvis’ 10-game streak between the two teams, dropped the Tornadoes’ record to 1-5 on the season.
Preston credited the guys up front for their performance in giving him the opportunity to stand out.
“I have to thank the offensive line,” he said after the game. “We were just locked in. we wanted to win so we just played hard.”
Sumrall coach Shannon White said the line does not get the credit it deserves.
“The line is overlooked; they are doing a great job,” he said. “We’re running the ball really well.”
Unlike last week’s slow start in the 21-13 victory over Pass Christian, the Bobcats scored early with a four-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard TD pass from receiver-turned-quarterback Dannis Jackson to Zane Berry. Sumrall scored with just over a minute after the opening kickoff.
White said his offense definitely played a different game Friday night.
“We knew this was a much bigger game with district, Purvis and all of those things,” he said. “This was a different week of practice. Our guys knew what they needed to do, and I think you saw us play up to our ability like we should.”
Purvis (1-5) answered on its first possession, but the Tornadoes needed 17 plays to go 65 yards for paydirt. Quarterback Mason Kendrick ended the drive with a 23-yard scoring pass with 2:52 left in the first quarter on the only Purvis touchdown of the night.
Tornadoes coach Brad Hankins said his squad’s lack of execution and team mistakes hurt his team.
“It came down to execution,” he said. “Early in the ballgame, we didn’t catch any breaks and had bad field position. We bounced the ball around back here.
“They’re a good football team, and you’ve got to have some breaks to beat those good teams like that. We felt like we were backed. When we did get something going, we would get a penalty.”
Hankins said his squad usually brings in a balanced offense, but the passing suffered Friday night. Kendrick completed 4-of-8 passes for 53 yards with the TD and an interception.
“Usually, we have a better passing game,” he said. “We had some kids to get hurt that we were going to use.”
Preston started collecting touchdowns late in the first quarter, catching a 20-yard scoring pass from Jackson with1:17 left in the stanza. Then he scored one touchdown in each of the last three quarters, while Purvis was unavailable to make it into the end zone.
In the second quarter, Preston’s first rushing score came with 1:15 until intermission from 5 yards out. That stretched Sumrall’s advantage to 21-7 before halftime.
Preston scored in the third quarter as time ran out. He bolted over left tackle from 5 yards away as the Bobcats went ahead 28-7. The scoring run ended a scoring drive of six plays for 49 yards.
In the fourth quarter, Preston’s touchdown came on a 4-yard burst over right tackle with 4:40 to play. The six-play drive covered the final 39 yards for the score.
Sumrall goes to Monticello on Friday to play Lawrence County, while Purvis entertains a Leakesville team from Greene County. Both are District 7-4A contests.