CATEGORY: FOL High School Football
HED:Tupelo’s Purnell gets the edge in brotherly matchup
By Bobby Pepper
The Tupelo-Grenada football game last week turned into more than a meeting between two Region 1-5A schools. It became a matchup of brother vs. brother.
On the home sideline was Tupelo running back George Purnell. Across the field on the visitor’s side was Grenada fullback/linebacker Desmond Purnell George’s older brother.
Desmond, a 210-pound senior, lives with their parents in Grenada. George, a 167-pound sophomore, resides with their sister in Tupelo.
The brothers didn’t go head-to-head until late in the game, when George was sent in to play tailback on Tupelo’s final offensive drive. A couple of times George carried the ball only to be greeted by big brother at the line of scrimmage for no gain.
The younger Purnell, however, got the best of the matchup. With the ball on the Grenada 14, George broke outside and scored the Wave’s final touchdown with 1 minute, 41 seconds left to seal Tupelo’s 19-0 victory.
George had four carries for 19 yards while Desmond ran four times for 8 yards.
The Purnell brothers met briefly at midfield after the game, and George even received congratulations for his TD from some of his brother’s teammates.
George said he and his brother may have been on opposite sides, but they took the sibling rivalry in stride.
“He said he was going to support me and that we were going to have fun, that’s all,” George said.
Weyerhaeuser donates to MHSAA
The Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation has been a longtime supporter of high school activities in Mississippi through its donations. Last week, the wood products company made another contribution that benefits scholar-athletes.
Weyerhaeuser presented a check for $2,000 to the Mississippi High School Activities Association to fund two $1,000 scholarships as part of the Lindy Callahan Scholar-Athlete Award.
The scholarship is presented in the spring to 16 high school seniors one male and one female from each of the MHSAA’s eight districts.
“Through these scholarships the Weyehaeuser Company Foundation is pleased to honor students who have excelled in academics as well as leadership in their schools,” said Wally Permenter, manager of Weyerhaeuser’s Bruce wood products facility.
Weyehaeuser is one of five corporate sponsors of the scholarship. The others are Mississippi Chemical, Zatarain’s, Mississippi Army National Guard and Hancock Bank.
Dr. Ennis Proctor, executive director of the MHSAA, was in Bruce last week to accept the contribution.
“Weyerhaeuser has earned a reputation throughout Mississippi as a responsible corporate citizen that invests in the future of our state through encouraging academic excellence in our schools,” Proctor said.
Last year’s award winners included three from Northeast Mississippi: Tara Leigh Lesley of Itawamba AHS, John Travor Baker of Aberdeen and Joseph Gray of Bruce.
The award is named in honor of Callahan, who was athletic director and coach in the Gulfport schools for 39 years. He served as president of the MHSAA and is a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Basketball schedule reminder
The Daily Journal would like to remind area basketball coaches to please fax or mail us a copy of your team’s schedule for the upcoming season. As of Wednesday, 22 area schools had not sent us their schedule.
Schedules can be faxed by dialing 842-2233 or mailed to Daily Journal Sports, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802.
Bobby Pepper covers high school sports for the Daily Journal.