PCA gets too little too late vs. Trojans

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2000

Tallulah Academy’s 34-6 win over Porters Chapel Friday was decided in the third quarter, but that didn’t lessen the impact of the game’s finish or ease any hard feelings in the growing rivalry.

Ryan Baker rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder on Tallulah’s first offensive play, and Edwin Fortenberry added two more scores to lead the Trojans (6-1, 2-1 Conference 7-A) to victory in the first meeting between the two schools. PCA fell to 3-4, 0-3 in the conference.

“It was great. We needed a win to keep second place in the district and take us into the rest of the season,” Baker said.

Tallulah used two long third-quarter drives to open a 27-0 lead and began substituting midway through the fourth quarter. With less than a minute to play, however, Tallulah coach I.T. Crothers put Baker back into the game believing he was only a few yards from a 200-yard night.

Baker gained 14 yards on his first two carries, taking it down to the Eagles’ 3. Tallulah then called timeout with seven seconds remaining and ran one last time behind Baker, although Crothers called for backup quarterback K.C. Fox to kneel. Baker was stuffed at the line and Tallulah appeared to be trying to call another timeout as time expired.

“I hope they don’t feel like we were trying to run it up, because we want a good relationship with them being this close,” Crothers said.

The explanation didn’t wash with PCA coach Bubba Mims, however.

“It didn’t look that way from where I was standing, and it wouldn’t have looked that way from where he was standing if the shoe was on the other foot,” Mims said, promising some payback in the future. “I don’t appreciate them trying to score in the last seconds when the game was already decided. I’m going to be at Porters Chapel for a while, and it’ll turn around … They’ve done a wonderful job of building their program, but I know how to build one too and we’ve got some kids coming up in fifth and sixth grade, and we’ll be awesome.”

Early in the “Border War,” Tallulah’s Stewart Frith picked off a screen pass and returned it 15 yards to give the Trojans a 6-0 lead, and Baker’s 80-yard TD up the middle made it 13-0 with 7:29 left in the first quarter.

“That’s my first long run I ever broke in my life. That’s the best I’ve seen the line block all year,” Baker said.

The Eagles held the line there, but couldn’t put a dent in the lead. They drove to the Tallulah 22 before a holding call and an interception ended a first-quarter drive, and then couldn’t take advantage of a blocked punt in the second quarter.

A bad snap and hold aborted a 30-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the half.

Tallulah had problems of its own, amassing 65 yards in penalties in the first half.

The Trojans settled down in the locker room, however, and went 71 yards in 11 plays to open the second half.

A 3-yard run by Fortenberry made it 20-0, and Baker’s second TD, a 2-yarder, capped a nine-play, 66-yard drive and made it 27-0 with 1:46 left in the third.

The Eagles kept fighting though, using a series of gadget plays and a pass-oriented attack to finally get on the board.

A halfback option pass from Dustin Abbott to quarterback Kyle Ehrhardt gained 25 yards and a reverse pass from receiver Andrew Embry to Ehrhardt drew a pass interference call in the end zone.

Abbott finally took it in from 1 yard out to make it 27-6, and the Eagles recovered an onsides kick on the ensuing kickoff. They couldn’t capitalize, however, and Fortenberry capped a four-play, 63-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run to make it 34-6 with 6:52 left.

“It was fun, because we were still going strong,” said Allen Pugh, who caught one pass for 24 yards and also had an interception. “We just started too late in the game.”