(With Park View High School slated to merge with Bluestone HS to form the new Mecklenburg County HS in 2022, the South Hill Enterprise is running an ongoing series that looks back at some of the outstanding athletes and coaches and their stories through the years. This is story No. 24 in the series.)
Park View High School running back Purcell Langston had a spectacular campaign on the gridiron in 1974 when he led the Southside District in scoring and rushing for the second straight year.
Langston scored 100 points on the gridiron in district play that season to edge out teammate Prince Thomas who finished second with 60 points.
Langston was a repeat winner as he broke the district record he set the previous season with 76 points. He rushed for 13 touchdowns in district play in 1974 and added 11 two-point conversion runs. Thomas scored eight touchdowns and added six conversion runs to finish second in the district scoring race.
Langston rushed for a total of 1,920 yards on 206 carries in the 1974 season for the Dragons and scored 22 touchdowns while catching six passes for 91 yards and another score.
The talented runner got the campaign off to a great start by rushing for 230 yards on 19 carries in Park View’s 44-6 season-opening win over John Graham HS. Thomas also had a big game rushing for 119 yards on 15 carries with a pair of touchdowns.
Langston rushed for 168 yards on 15 carries and scored three touchdowns in Park View’s 42-0 win over Norlina HS in the second game that season.
The Dragons improved to 3-0 in their third game, a 24-18 win over John Webb HS, as Langston rushed for 200 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Park View routed Brunswick in the next game as Langston rushed for 179 yards on 12 carries with three rushing touchdowns while also catching a 40-yard touchdown pass. Keith Bishop also had a big game for the Dragons rushing for 110 yards with a pair of touchdowns on six rushes.
The Dragons routed Central of Lunenburg 54-14 in Game 5 as Langston rushed for 240 yards on 17 carries with three touchdowns.
Park View improved to 6-0 with a 26-14 win over Randolph-Henry HS as Langston rushed for 99 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown while Bishop rushed for 92 yards on five carries.
The Dragons blasted Bluestone HS in its next game by a 66-18 score as Langston rushed for 258 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries while Thomas rushed for 247 yards on 19 carries with four touchdowns. Jerry Sparkman pulled in two passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in the game.
Park View topped Dinwiddie HS in its next game 22-6 on the road as Langston rushed for 222 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns. Langston broke the school rushing record he set the season before on a 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to surpass the 1,502 yards he totaled in 1973.
The Dragons routed Greensville HS the following week by a 40-16 score as Langston rushed for 263 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns. Thomas also rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown in the game and caught a 66-yard touchdown pass.
Park View fell on the road at Nottoway HS 20-0 in the regular season finale as the Cougars took advantage of three fumbles and three interceptions to capture the Southside District title.
Langston finished with 61 yards on 18 carries in the game as both teams completed 9-1 seasons but Nottoway earned the automatic regional berth.
Langston’s season rushing record of 1,920 yards stood until 2008 when Donald “TJ” Talley rushed for 2,200 yards.