Ready or not, PCA kicks off season tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 18, 2000

Porters Chapel Academy coach Jim Sizemore doesn’t know much about his team’s first opponent, but he does know one thing the Eagles are ready to start the season.

PCA opens against Plain Dealing tonight at as the high school football season gets under way with a full slate of academy games.

“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be. If we had three more days of practice, we wouldn’t be any more ready,” Sizemore said. “I’m like all coaches, they’re all probably saying, We’re tired of beating on each other.’ They may beat on us, but at least it’ll be nice to have somebody else to beat on.”

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Both Sizemore and Plain Dealing coach Bobby Ray McHalffey confessed to not knowing anything about the other’s team. Sizemore said whatever knowledge he had came from discussions with other coaches, while McHalffey said he didn’t know “a thing in the world” about PCA.”

“You do a lot better if you know a little bit, but it’ll boil down to basic football,” McHalffey said.

The Bulldogs, who have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, return two All-Conference players from last year’s 6-4 squad and have 28 players on the roster. Center Jeff Lyles anchors the line, while running back Fred Sarkozi rushed for 740 yards last year in Plain Dealing’s Wing-T offense.

“I understand they run the Wing-T offense, one of the hardest offenses to defend against in high school because it’s hard to find the football if they fake it pretty good,” Sizemore said.

PCA will counter with a new quarterback, Warren Central transfer Kyle Ehrhardt, and a one-two punch at running back.

Jeremiah Riggs rushed for 863 yards and five touchdowns last season, while Dustin Abbott went over 100 yards in each of the two games he was completely healthy for. They will alternate between fullback and tailback, with both seeing their share of carries.

“One will play fullback one play and one will play tailback one play. I kind of let them alternate that on themselves,” Sizemore said.

As both teams continue to fine-tune their game, Sizemore and McHalffey also agreed that mistakes will be made and will probably decide the outcome.

“We’ve got a philosophy, If we’re going to get whipped, let’s let the other team beat us, let’s not beat ourselves.’ We didn’t do a very good job of that last year, we beat ourselves about every game,” Sizemore said. “Nine times out of 10, the first game, the best teams don’t ever win. It’s the team that makes the fewest mistakes, the team that’s in better shape, the team that doesn’t quit.”

McHalffey was expecting the same type of sloppy, mistake-filled game as he tries people in new positions and works out the kinks.

“With a young bunch, are you ever ready? We still make 10,000 mistakes in every practice and we’re still trying to smooth things out,” McHalffey said. “It may just boil down to who outsloppies the other.”