Inspired Eagles roll over Union in 2nd half, 32-8

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 17, 2001

[9/16/01]GEORGETOWN The candlelight vigil and tribute to America at halftime of the Porters Chapel-Union Academy game Saturday night was inspiring, but the tongue-lashing PCA coach Bubba Mims gave his team at the same time did more to lift the Eagles’ spirits.

Aaron Curry threw two touchdown passes, Andrew Embry threw for one TD and caught another, and Chris Simms caught a touchdown pass and recovered a blocked punt for another score as the Eagles (2-1) scored 26 unanswered points in the second half to roll to a 32-8 victory.

“I don’t remember … It was pretty violent,” Mims said of his halftime speech, which could be heard 50 yards away over some of the softer parts of “America the Beautiful.” The song was played over the field’s speaker system as part of a halftime ceremony honoring victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C.

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“I told them if we lose this game, there probably wouldn’t be but five left on the team next week,” Mims said.

“They came out in the second half much more inspired and played a lot better.”

The need for the speech was obvious. Union led the listless Eagles 8-6 at halftime despite having half as many yards. A 14-yard touchdown pass from Josh Simmons to Allen Crowder, followed by a two-point conversion run by Simmons, staked Union to an 8-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

PCA had a drive stopped on downs inside the Union 10 early in the second quarter before finally cutting it to 8-6 on a 13-yard TD run by Josh Rush halfway through the period.

Curry replaced starter Ryan Hoben at quarterback for the last series of the second quarter and threw two incompletions and took a sack, but after Mims’ tirade at halftime, he was a changed quarterback and the Eagles were a changed team.

“It got through to a lot of people. He needs to start doing that at every halftime,” Curry said.

Embry returned the second-half kickoff 32 yards to the Union 49, then hooked up with Curry for a 38-yard TD pass three plays later to give PCA the lead.

Embry also ran in the two-point conversion on a bad point-after snap to make it 14-8.

“I think the opening kickoff of the second half, we had it,” Embry said.

About three minutes later, Curry added to the lead with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Ivey to complete a quick two-play drive. The play was set up when Tyler Ellis sacked Simmons and stripped the ball in one motion, then recovered the fumble at the Union 21.

PCA put the final nail in the coffin with a trick play on its next possession. After taking over at its own 26, PCA drove to midfield. With just over three minutes left in the third quarter, Curry threw a lateral to Embry, who was lined up at wide receiver. Embry then tossed it to Simms, who didn’t have a defender within 20 yards of him, and Simms scored easily for a 53-yard touchdown and a 26-8 lead.

“He was wide open. It was run perfectly,” Embry said. “We run it in practice all the time, but it’s a lot easier to catch it in practice.”

Simms later blocked a punt and returned it about 10 yards for the game’s final touchdown. That, combined with four pass attempts by Curry on PCA’s last possession all incompletions had Union coach Randy Holloway stewing after the game.

“If they can sleep at night, so can I,” Holloway said. “It speaks for itself. I remember the days when we’d get up on them 20 or 30 to nothing and it’d end up 20 or 30 to nothing.”

T.J. Smith added 93 rushing yards for PCA, and Curry threw for 70 yards on just 3-of-10 passing. Still, Mims praised Curry’s play as well as Hoben’s.

“(Curry) came in and did a tremendous job, he really did,” Mims said. “And Hoben went in on defense and did an excellent job. We’ve been trying to get him to play defense all year, and he was an animal out there.”