The Bay High Tigers used a strong second half to impose their will on the Purvis Tornadoes at the Joe D. McCullouch Stadium on Friday night and record a 28-14 victory. The win moves the Tigers to 2-0 to start the season for the first time since 2012.
Bay High opened the game on defense and quickly forced a punt. They took over on their own 47 yard line. With Noah Cutter and Sam Sheppard taking turns toting the mail, the Tigers methodically moved the ball down to the Purvis two yard line. On the ninth play of the drive, Cutter bowled his way over the goal line top put the Tigers up with 5:36 left in the first quarter. Dawson Kotsakos converted on the PAT to make the score 7-0.
Kade Sherrill ripped off three runs that moved the ball to midfield. Hunter Robinson then connected with Nick Lower on a 36-yard aerial to the Tiger 20 yard line. Two plays later Sherrill scored on a 18-yard scamper with 2:43 left in the opening quarter. Robinson then connected with Eli Barrett on a two-point conversion that gave the Tornadoes a 8-7 lead.
The Tigers were pushing the ball down the field on their ensuing drive until a personal foul penalty halted the drive and forced a punt. On the personal foul, Tiger offensive lineman Chase Necaise was ejected. Cutter pinned the Tornadoes at their own 17 yard line on the punt. Purvis appeared to be moving the ball with ease on a 13-yard gain by Sherrill followed by a 30-yard scamper from Robinson before a false start penalty and huge sack by Cutter forced a Tornadoes' punt.
The Tigers took over on their own 30 yard line. On the third play of the drive, Sam Sheppard ripped off a 62-yard run down to the Purvis 10 yard line. Three plays later, Josh Peters connected with Zach West for a nine-yard scoring aerial with 3:08 left in the half. Kotsakos converted on the PAT giving the Tigers a 14-8 lead.
Following an on-sides kickoff attempt, the Tornadoes took over at midfield. Three straight tackles by Cutter forced a punt by the Tornadoes; however, Robinson hit Barrett on a fake punt for 15 yards and a first down.
Robinson ripped off another 17-yard run before two sacks seemed to slow the Tornadoes down. But, Robinson hit Sherrill who weaved in and out of the Tornadoes defense as time expired for a 45-yard scoring aerial. The two-point conversion attempt failed leaving the score knotted at halftime.
To open the second half, the two teams swapped possessions. On the Tornadoes' second possession, Purvis had a bad snap that went over the head of the quarterback and Sheppard picked up the loose ball at the seven yard line and returned it for the touchdown with 5:42 left in the third quarter. Kotsakos' PAT was good making the score 21-14.
After the Tiger defense held strong on the Tornadoes' ensuing possession, the Tigers took over at their own 40 yard line. The Tigers displayed power football with Cutter gashing the defense for gains of eight, 15, and 10 yards while West added a two-yard pickup and Peters a six-yard rush. Sheppard carried the final two times for a gain of 10 and nine yards with the latter being a touchdown with 10:35 left in the game. Kotsakos converted on the PAT to make the final score.
Cutter had 15 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown in the game while Sheppard had six carries for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Bay High head coach Eric Collins commented, "Being 2-0 is better than the alternative. We have several guys going both ways so depth is really a concern for us right now as we are building this program. It is imperative that we stay healthy. Our guys are really working hard and I promised them this summer workout and conditioning program would pay off and they are seeing the dividends. I do not think that we played very well in the first half. We were sloppy in execution and we had several penalties that slowed us down. We challenged them at halftime and they responded and imposed their will on the opponent. Coach Turcotte did an excellent job helping me call plays tonight and Coach Johnson's defense delivered big play after big play. All our assistant coaches were a factor tonight. When you are not used to winning it is easy to hang your head. We challenged them and they did not hang their heads. i am so proud of them for that. We have Forrest County next week. i am not sure what they do on the field but I know they have a winning heritage and tradition and that means something. We will have to execute our game plan and remain focused for an entire game."
The Tigers travel to Forrest County AHS next Friday evening. The Aggies fell to Pass Christian 38-14 last night. Game time is set for 7pm. See you at the game!