Porters Chapel shifting to Delta’ conference in fall

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 25, 2002

[02/25/02] For the second time in three years, Porters Chapel Academy is on the move thanks to the latest realignment plan from the Mississippi Private Schools Association.

PCA, which is the only Mississippi school in its current conference, will join Tallulah, Briarfield and Sharkey-Issaquena in a “Delta” conference starting in the fall.

The three schools will be part of Conference 5-A, which also includes Deer Creek Academy, Greenville Christian and Humphreys Academy. Franklin Academy will be a non-football member and Central Delta Academy will be a member for junior high sports.

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“We’ve got a mixture of Louisiana schools and Mississippi schools, and that’s good. We’re kind of in the center right now,” PCA athletic director and football coach Bubba Mims said. “Football-wise, I think it’s going to be real competitive.”

Under the new MPSA plan, which reduces the total classifications from four to three, the 15 schools with the highest enrollment will be in Class AAA. The next 27 highest are in Class AA and the remaining 57 are in Class A.

Most Vicksburg-area academies will remain in their current classification, but Chamberlain-Hunt will jump from Class A to Class AA. They’ll be joined by Central Hinds, which moves down from the old Class AAA, in the new Conference 3-AA.

“I think we were about five or six over the margin,” Chamberlain-Hunt football coach Fred Harvey said. “But they’re going to open up a new dorm and hopefully that’ll bring in a few new ballplayers.”

Chamberlain-Hunt athletic director Bill Harris said the school could be in Class AAA in about four years, and felt most of the school’s teams could compete right away in the new conference despite having to play a number of larger schools that have moved down.

Other rivals in the new conference include Simpson, Prairie View and Riverfield, all former AAA schools, as well as Class AA East Rankin.

“I think in the long run, all of our sports are going to be helped. It’s going to be tough competing for a year or two, but you can’t always judge the competition by the level because not all of these schools have the athletes,” Harris said.

Other Vicksburg-area academies will barely be affected by the new plan.

Rebul and Tri-County will remain in Conference 4-A with longtime rivals University Christian and Union, while Tensas Academy will move to a new Conference 7-A that includes football heavyweights Amite, Trinity and Wilkinson County in Mississippi, and local rival Huntington in Louisiana.

“I really hate that they split us up because we played Tallulah and Briarfield for so long and were starting to get a good thing going with Porters Chapel,” Tensas football coach and athletic director Chris Jacobs said. “It sort of puts us back in the district we were in several years ago.”

Like PCA, Tensas is in a flexible location that allows them to switch conferences easily. Tensas is located along Highway 65 in Louisiana roughly halfway between Vicksburg and Natchez, making road trips to either south Mississippi or central Mississippi fairly easy.

“To me it’s like Show us where to go and we’ll go,’ ” Jacobs said. “If we don’t make the playoffs (in football), we’d probably have to play some of these teams along the line anyway.”