Purcell scored early and often last Saturday night posting a convincing 41-14 victory over Lindsay in the opening round of the State Playoffs.

Unlike the first meeting of the year back on September 4, the Dragons came out firing in the first half eventually building a 28-0 lead going into the halftime locker room.

In the first meeting, Lindsay led at halftime but the Dragons came back to win 35-28.

Senior signal caller Kody Kroth threw five touchdown passes and Payson Purcell tallied from 12 yards out to close out the scoring.

Kroth hit Titus Mason on a dandy 72 yard bomb to open the scoring on the second play of the game. Mason later hauled in another 24 yard scoring strike following a Leopard turnover.

Kroth found Mojo Browning twice on plays covering 16 and five yards and hit Creed Smith over the middle for the final score of the first half.

Kroth was 25-42 for 307 yards. Mason caught 10 balls for 168 yards Browning had eight catches for 68  yards and Smith hauled in six Kroth passes for 67 yards.

Purcell rushed 24 times for 105 yards.

The Dragons amassed 412 yards of total offense, not missing a beat with four offensive linemen held out of practice for a couple of weeks.

Creed Smith, who also hadn’t practiced in two weeks, made 11 tackles including a pair of sacks and had an interception.

“Maybe we should set him down again (this week),” head coach Tracy Scott quipped.

Sam Wofford drew praise from the coach as did Jaysen Shea, Nate Willis and Johnny Marquez.

“Sam is always steady,” Scott said. “Willis had two interceptions. Marquez had four tackles and Shea had five tackles including four for losses.”

“Having those linemen play so well is a credit to them and to our coaching staff. Having the same system in for three years is helpful.

“We came out and played well,” Scott continued. “I thought we would play well because the kids who could practice last week practiced well. The old saying you play like you practice is so true.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Scott noted the stellar play of Kroth, Creed Smith and Mojo Browning.

“Kroth continues to play well,” the coach said. “He spread the ball around. And for Creed not to have been practicing he had a pretty good game on that side also. And, Mojo played well.”

Up next is the second rematch of the regular season in a row.

Purcell will travel to Washington for the second round of the State Playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

The Warriors pinned a 40-27 loss on the Dragons September 25 at Conger Field in the opening week of district play.

This Friday night’s game will be the 10th playoff game the Dragons have faced an opponent that they played in the regular season.

Purcell has won five of the nine so far.

Five teams out of the seven in District 2A-3 are playing in the second round.

Scott said the key for the Dragons is stopping the run.

“We can’t let them make long drives,” Scott said. “Their offensive line has improved so stopping their run game will be important.”

Notes:

Purcell is 45-40 overall in playoff games.

Washington is 53-32 in post season play.

Purcell’s last playoff victory was a 28-27 win at home over Elgin in 2009.

Washington bowed out of the playoffs last season to No. 1 Metro Christian.

Warriors’ Head Coach Brad Beller on playing the Dragons for a second time this season.

“It’s a very unique game for us to have played in the same district and to play our crosstown rival, if you will, in Purcell,” Beller said. “Them winning the other night just proves how good our district was.”

“Purcell looks to be back at full strength and are clicking on all cylinders on offense. They are playing well at the right time,” Beller said.

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