St. Al, PCA playing for seniors’ pride, future

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 2, 2001

[11/2/01]St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel Academy are in different districts, in different associations, but they’re in the same boat.

Mired in losing streaks after playing the top teams on their schedules, they both get a break, it would seem, by playing programs that are in their infancy.

Then again, neither coach feels confident enough to make any bold predictions.

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“Heck, we’ve lost five in a row; they may think they’re getting a break,” said St. Al coach Jim Taylor, whose Flashes (4-5, 2-5 Region 4-1A) host West Lincoln (0-9, 0-7), which is in its third year of football.

PCA (3-6, 0-4 Conference 7-A) hosts CM&I (1-8), which is in its second year of football.

Still, PCA coach Bubba Mims is cautious going into the Eagles’ season finale. A whopping 42 turnovers this season have given him good reason to be.

“We don’t want to underestimate them,” said Mims, whose squad has lost three straight. “If we don’t hold on to the ball, anyone can beat us.”

With the playoffs out of reach, both coaches have had to shift their goals. With a game at Cathedral next week, the Flashes could still finish with a winning record.

If both coaches could have their way, their seniors would build big leads, then the younger players would come in and start building for next year.

“That would be ideal,” Taylor said. “We want to end up with something good for the seniors, and we want to hold the young kids’ interest. We have a sense of duty to both of them.”

Mims said he will start mostly seniors, but he’s eager to get a look at young running backs Kenny Simms and J.D. Lee. Eighth-grader Gerald Mims will get his first start at quarterback.

“We should win this game, but we can’t have a don’t-give-a-care attitude,” the elder Mims said. “We can get beat.”

The Crusaders got their only win this year over Presbyterian, a first-year program out of Hattiesburg. Still, they aren’t discouraged, coach Calvin Thompson said.

“Our attitudes are in good shape,” he said, adding that his defense has been a bright spot. “I’m expecting us to score some points.”

Thompson said he hasn’t seen any film on PCA.

West Lincoln coach Roe Burns said his team’s problem is inexperience. That’s why his seniors won’t play much either while he works some young players.

“We’ve been able to run the ball well, we just have a terrible turnover ratio,” he said.

Tailback Stacy Fells went over the 1,000-yard mark for the Bears last week.

Taylor said records are irrelevant.

“We lost to Salem, and they hadn’t won any,” he said of the loss that started his team’s downward spiral. “West Lincoln played well against Dexter. There are no easy games for us.”

The Flashes started 4-0 but followed the setback to Salem with losses to defending state champion Mize, Bogue Chitto and Dexter all of which are ranked in The Associated Press Little 10 and playoff-bound Enterprise-Lincoln.

“We’ve just had trouble getting big plays and big breaks,” he said. “We always play hard and we play well in spots. We just don’t put it all together.”

Mims said he knew the Eagles were in a building year in a tough conference, “but I figured we’d win another game or two,” he said. “Every game, turnovers just killed us.”