PCA packs plenty of new faces for trip to Plain Dealing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 30, 2001

Bubba Mims, center, talks to players, from left, Ryan Hoben, J.D. Lee, Andrew Embry, Chris Simms and Nick Carr as assistant coach Robert Simms listens in.(The Vicksburg Post/ C. Todd Sherman

[8/30/2001When Porters Chapel Academy opens its season Friday night at Plain Dealing, fans of last year’s junior varsity team will be familiar with most of the starters. The rest will need a roster.

The Eagles start the season with a different tailback, quarterback and tight end than they ended with last season, as well as several different linemen. Several other players, such as fullback Josh Rush, have switched positions.

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“We haven’t been able to be as advanced on a lot of different formations and sets as I’d like because we had to touch on the basics the first couple of weeks,” PCA coach Bubba Mims said. “Then there’s a lot of people coming back who are changing positions. But they’re continuing to learn, and they’re going to continue to learn.”

In the meantime, there’s a game to play against a team that resembles PCA. Plain Dealing finished last season 4-7 PCA was 6-4 but, like the Eagles, lost eight senior starters.

Plain Dealing will start an inexperienced quarterback, junior Murphy Shelton.

“He’s only got about two games of experience,” Plain Dealing coach Max Rudd said.

PCA, meanwhile, will go with sophomore Ryan Hoben, who has yet to play a game on the varsity level and played running back for the JV squad last season. Junior wide receiver Andrew Embry, who has played quarterback in the past, will also get some reps.

“We’re just going to stick to our game plan offensively. We’re going to run the ball first and throw it next,” Mims said.

Both teams also enter the game with early season problems. Rudd said the Bulldogs looked bad in a 19-0 scrimmage loss to Mount Olive last week, while the Eagles are racked with injuries.

“We had jitters and didn’t do nothing,” Rudd said.

PCA’s starting tailback, T.J. Smith, has a sore knee and may wear a brace for the opener, while tight end Joseph Ivey had a swollen hand after hitting it on a helmet in practice.

Both will play, but kicker and defensive back Aaron Curry is likely to miss the game with a shoulder injury.

Curry, also a backup quarterback, visited a doctor on Wednesday and said he was cleared to resume practice next week. Curry was booming 40-yard field goals in practice Wednesday, and Mims was hopeful he could kick extra points and field goals Friday night.

“It’s rough. But if we get everybody healthy I think we can make strides offensively,” Mims said.

A win would go a long way for the Eagles. If Plain Dealing is slumping as badly as Rudd says, it could be one of the few breaks on PCA’s schedule, which has six teams with winning records last year.

“We want to get out on top and stay that way,” Rush said.