Unbeaten SIA tries to keep streak alive against PCA

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 5, 2002

[09/05/02]Sharkey-Issaquena is undefeated. Not since the early 1990s has anyone been able to utter that sentence.

But two weeks into the season the Confederates are 2-0 with home field advantage as they prepare for conference rival Porters Chapel Academy (1-1) Friday.

The Eagles’ wings were clipped last week against Academy-AA Central Hinds, and they would like nothing better than to pop the balloon of the Confederates with the first face-off in conference play.

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“They beat a couple teams pretty bad,” Eagles coach Bubba Mims said. “We’re just going to line up and play some smash-mouth football.”

Which the Confederates won’t mind matching with their “three yards and a cloud of dust offense.” In two games, SIA has 447 total yards and 76 points while holding opponents to 87 yards (159 against Winona Christian and a negative-72 against CMI) and 14 points.

“We’ve got heart, and we’ve been enjoying success with teams looking past us,” Confederates assistant coach Marlon Nichols said. “Sharkey-Issaquena just does not get respect and we’ve got a fast defense giving it all they got.”

The Eagles will be entering the game missing key offensive and defensive weapons.

Running back Wesley Purvis is out with a fractured forearm, offensive and defensive lineman Michael Warren will miss the game with a torn rotator cuff. Tight end Wes Massey is out four to six weeks with a broken ankle and Josh Rush, the team’s middle linebacker and fullback, hasn’t practiced and probably won’t play Friday with a knee injury.

“We’ve had some bad luck with injuries this year, but that’s part of the game. We all know it can happen, we don’t like it, but we know it can happen,” Mims said. “We just got to get ready to go.”

The Eagles also have to be ready to stop a bruising running attack. The Confederates have only thrown two passes both incomplete and have averaged a little more than 5 yards a carry, while controlling the clock.

“They’ve got some good running backs and a good line,” Mims said. “We’re going to put some people in the box and see if we can stop them.”

The good news for the Eagles is that their own running game, minus Purvis, should be intact. J.D. Lee has been cleared to play with an irregular heartbeat and Kenny Simms will be receiving ample opportunities.

“I think Winona and Porters Chapel are a lot alike. They have good lines, ninth grade quarterbacks and talented players,” Nichols said. “Winona tried to pass a lot, and the film shows that Porters Chapel runs the same kind of thing.”

The Confederates will face the “Air Mims” attack with a stifling defense that boasts Jordan Clark (seven tackles), Brett Stevens (six tackles and a 20-yard interception return), and Marty Stuart (6 tackles).

“We’re not going to change a thing,” Nichols said. “We’re trying to get them up, and as excited as last week, and then turn them loose.”