PCA-Tallulah Academy on cusp of heated rivalry

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 12, 2002

[09/12/02]One day, Porters Chapel and Tallulah Academy will be a great rivalry. Players on both teams are familiar enough with each other to want to win, and there is some but not much bad blood simmering on both sides.

It has the makings of a great regional rivalry one day, but both PCA coach Bubba Mims and Tallulah coach Jacky Thames say that day is not today.

“I still don’t feel it,” Thames said. “I don’t think there’s any question, with these schools being this close, that it’ll come to that. A lot of these kids see each other all the time. We’ve still got a few more meetings to go before we get there.”

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When the schools tee it up Friday night in Tallulah, it will be just the third meeting between them. Tallulah is 2-0 in the series, including a 34-6 win in 2000. In that game, the Trojans drove inside the PCA 10-yard line in the closing seconds and called timeout in an apparent attempt to add to the lead. Thames was an assistant coach at Tallulah in 2000.

Mims, who was in his first season at PCA then, said that was in the past.

“I don’t hold any grudges whatsoever. That’s football. If you were to ask me if I had the chance to do something like that, I would say no,” Mims said. “I was raised that two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Over the past three years, accusations of running up the score in junior high games have also been common. PCA routed Tallulah last week in the latest matchup, but PCA junior high coach Randy Wright denied he was running it up.

Thames had no comment on the junior high game.

“No comment from the coaching staff, and no comment from the players,” Thames said.

So both coaches instead focused on the task at hand getting a key conference win rather than all of the distractions.

Tallulah (2-1) lost its opener to Academy-AA Riverfield, but has won its last two heading into the conference opener. PCA (2-1, 1-0 Conference 5-A) split its first two games before beating Sharkey-Issaquena last week.

With Briarfield, ranked No. 5 in Academy-A, still ahead on both teams’ conference schedules, as well as meetings with talented teams from Deer Creek and Humphreys, Friday’s game is key to both the Trojans’ and Eagles’ playoff hopes.

“(Conference) 5-A is so tough. Any Friday night you have a chance to win, you better grab it because it’s going to be tough all the way through,” Thames said.

Both teams have relied primarily on their running game this season, and controlling the ball figures to be a key. PCA running back Wesley Purvis who played against SIA last week despite a broken arm leads the Eagles with 372 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while Cade Marsh leads Tallulah with 290 yards and one touchdown.

In last year’s meeting, played in a steady rain, the teams combined for 18 fumbles and nine turnovers as Tallulah claimed a 9-0 win.