Tigers dominate 4th opponent PurvisBy MARLAN JONES,
The Mendenhall Tigers traveled to Purvis for a midseason rematch against the team responsible for last season’s first round playoff exit. Purvis posted a 1-2 record entering the game against the Tigers, who have gotten off to an undefeated start. The Tigers were eager to set the tone early.
Purvis possessed the ball to start the game and put together a solid opening drive that lasted nearly 8 minutes and ended in a touchdown and 2-point conversion. Christian Allen led the offense onto the field and made good use of their talents. The Tigers’ balanced attack was too much for Purvis. Coach Chuckie Allen got all of his playmakers involved early in the game. Junkevious Mack took over in the backfield for the goal line carries. Mack scored the Tigers’ first touchdown, but the 2-point conversion failed.
Following kickoff the Tigers were much improved defensively. They were able to put together stops and get the ball back near their 35 yard line. Penalties almost derailed the next offensive drive. Christian Allen was able to save the series with back to back runs for first downs. He followed up with a quick pass to Collier, who used his speed to go 35 yards for a touchdown and give the Tigers the lead. The 2-point conversion attempt was good and the Tigers led 14-8 at halftime.
BoBo Walker brought the crowd to their feet on the opening kickoff in the second half. He wiggled his way past multiple defenders to get near the 45 yard line. It looked as if he was headed to the end zone, but he was tripped up by a desperate Purvis defender. Walker gave his team excellent field position. The three-headed rushing attack of Mack, Zay Duckworth, and Collier was too much for Purvis. Mack was able to move the pile near the goal line for his second rushing touchdown of the night. After a successful 2-point conversion the Tigers led 22-8.
The Tigers continued to follow the trend of being a second half team. Defensively, the Tigers were locked in. Fred Tanner, Jamal Johnson, and Eli Drummond were a big part of the team’s defensive success. They were able to make adjustments and shut down the Tornadoes’ running game. This was due in part to controlling the line of scrimmage, thanks to Dakota Lofton. Defensive end Lyric Pittman did a good job of forcing runs back inside to the linebackers.
Purvis was a good football team and kept pressure on the Tigers for much of the game. But Mendenhall always had an answer. The Tigers won the game with a final score of 29-8.
Defensive coordinator Derrick Jenkins said, “I don’t know what it is. I guess we have to get hit in the mouth before we start to play. We’re like an old ’65 Chevy--we have to warm up first.”
Although the defense only allowed 8 points, Jenkins said there is still much room for improvement. Misalignment and missed assignments are still issues at times. Jenkins said that overall the defense has shown good energy and hustle and does a good job of pursuing the ball.
Head Coach Chuckie Allen said, “We played a sloppy first half, and I could tell we were rusty. But we played through it and fixed it.”
The offense has dominated every opponent they’ve faced this season. This was the first game that the team didn’t score at least 40 points on. The Mendenhall Tigers are 4-0 and will look to keep their streak alive as they host the Raleigh Lions this Friday.