PURCELL — Plainview coach Chris Berus said his squad entered Friday night's contest "haunted" by memories of the defense surrendering 59 points.
Consider the demons exorcised.
In a dominant display of defensive execution, Plainview limited the Dragons to just 225 yards and forced five turnovers in a lopsided 35-7 win at Purcell.
"Tonight, we put together a really good game plan and our kids executed it well," Berus said. "It's our kids executing what we ask them to do, and the performance speaks for itself."
Purcell's entire scoring output came in the first two plays of the game. After Plainview won the toss and chose to defer, Purcell kick returner Brandon Hackney returned the opening kick 69 yards to the shadow of the Plainview goalline before running back Jonah Woodly scored on a quick inside dive to give Purcell the early 7-0 lead.
The Indians never panicked. Later in the first quarter, quarterback Taber Jordan tied up the contest when a hole opened in the middle of the field on a keeper play, allowing the junior to sprint untouched 55 yards to the endzone.
It was the first of 35 unanswered points the Indians would score. Jordan would add a third quarter 57-yard touchdown pass to Chase Brooks, followed by a powerful 15-yard run from James Bowker right before the end of the third frame to put Plainview up 21-7 heading into the final quarter of play.
In the fourth, Jordan found another weapon, Austin Carrera, on a well-executed screen pass that Carrera caught near the line of scrimmage before sprinting 40 yards to the endzone. Senior Brandon Nowell became the fifth Indian to score with just under five minutes left in the game on a 10-yard run.
"We've got some weapons on this team," Berus said. "And as the season has gone on, we've found ways to use all of them."
Jordan, the replacement for the graduated Blake Campo, showed outstanding execution of the Indian offense in the contest. Whether timing his pitches just right on outside runs, or refusing to endanger possession by attempting a risky throw, Jordan was almost flawless in the win.
"I feel a lot more confident pitching the ball, getting my reads right and throwing the ball," Jordan said. "We just don't need to get overconfident, and stay focused on what we're doing right."
But it was the defense that was the true star of the night. Plainview intercepted three Purcell passes, including two in the fourth quarter, while also recovering two more fumbles.
The Plainview defense, though smaller up front than Purcell, utilized its quicker personnel to swarm the Dragon ballcarriers quickly, plugging up running lanes and holding passing gains to a minimum.
Brooks, who finished with four catches for 114 yards as well as an interception, said it all went back to the game plan.
Page 2 of 2 - "It all started with our preparation this week," Brooks said. "It was a great team effort."
After a difficult start to the season, Plainview's season appears back on track. The Indians now stand at 4-2 on the year, but more importantly are 2-1 in district play.
"It seems like every game we have more and more guys who are stepping up," Bowker said. "We're utilizing more weapons and its starting to show in our production."