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Eagles open season with a runaway

[8/23/03]After taking a few tentative steps toward the end zone Friday night, Porters Chapel Academy got a radar lock on it and couldn’t stop scoring.

Four different PCA running backs ran for touchdowns, and the Eagles totaled 222 yards on the ground to rout Tensas Academy 40-0 in the season-opener for both teams.

Josh Lancaster led the ground assault for PCA, rushing for 80 yards and two scores on only seven carries. J.D. Lee and Humphrey Barlow also had one touchdown apiece.

“It’s awesome,” said Lee, who had 64 yards on five carries. “We weren’t sure what they were going to look like. We were way more fired up than they were, and we took it to them.”

Lancaster gave PCA a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter with a 38-yard touchdown run on his first high school carry. The Eagles’ other two first-quarter drives ended deep in Tensas territory, however, helping the Chiefs stay in the game early on.

Ryan Hoben missed a 22-yard field goal on PCA’s opening drive, and Lancaster fumbled as he reached the goal line on the Eagles’ third possession.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they were struggling just as much. Tensas’ first three possessions ended in turnovers. The Chiefs managed just 69 yards of total offense in the first half, and 121 in the game, and turned it over four times.

Minor injuries to fullback Cody Hill and running back Matt Vinson also took their toll on the Chiefs, who only dressed 14 players for the game.

“We put our backs against the wall from the get-go, and those are the kinds of mistakes we can’t make and win football games,” Tensas coach Chris Jacobs said, adding that the injuries only added to the trouble. “When it did that, it was just a domino effect. It throws everything into a whirlwind and throws your game plan out the window.”

PCA increased its lead to 12-0 on an 8-yard TD run by Humphrey Barlow with 8:50 left in the second quarter, then got a big play from Hoben to break the Chiefs’ backs.

With just under 3 minutes to play in the first half, PCA’s defense forced Tensas to punt. Hoben fielded the ball on three bounces at his own 19, eluded a few would-be tacklers, and sprinted up the right sideline for an 81-yard touchdown.

Kenny Simms provided the final block, at the Tensas 20, to help Hoben complete the return and Blake Purvis added a two-point conversion pass to Chip Lofton to put the Eagles ahead 20-0.

“We just had good blocking,” Hoben said of his punt return.

PCA put the game away in the second half with the same combination of rushing and defense.

The Eagles scored on all three of their third-quarter possessions to take a 40-0 lead before the officials switched to a running clock in the final minute of the period.

Lancaster and Lee each ran for one touchdown in the third quarter, and Hoben connected with Jason Pugh for a 50-yard TD pass on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half.