Porters Chapel to battle WCCA in Wright’s debut

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 20, 2004

Porters Chapel Academy running back Judd Mims, right, takes a handoff during practice on Wednesday. (Jon GiffinThe Vicksburg Post)

[8/20/04]On the field and off, tonight’s season opener will be a turning point for the Porters Chapel Academy football program.

The game at Wilkinson County Christian marks the debut of a heralded group of newcomers, a group many PCA backers believe will bring unprecedented success to the school. It also marks the first game as head coach for longtime assistant Randy Wright.

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It will also be the first time this group of players has been without their former coach, Bubba Mims, who passed away in May. The Eagles will honor him by wearing a patch with the initials “BM” on their jerseys this season and, hopefully, by piling up the wins.

“We’re out here to win, and we always have that stuck in the back of our mind,” said sophomore quarterback Michael Busby, who will be starting his first varsity game. “We wish he could be out here to see it.”

WCCA reached the playoffs last season, losing 19-0 to Tallulah Academy in the first round, but has not played a jamboree game this summer. Wright’s only scouting report has come from last year’s game film, meaning the Eagles are heading into the season opener blind, without a good idea of who the Rams are or what they might try to do.

“We feel confident about their schemes, but we’re not sure about their personnel,” Wright said. “Last year they ran a whole bunch and didn’t throw much, but they may have found a quarterback this year. They didn’t play any kind of jamboree, and I haven’t talked to anybody who’s seen them. They may have seen us, and we haven’t seen them.”

If the Rams did see PCA play its jamboree game last week, it’d be hard to figure out what to make of the Eagles.

PCA beat Riverfield 7-6 in a one-quarter scrimmage, overcoming six penalties. Then the Eagles played Tallulah Academy to a scoreless tie, with each team stopping the other deep in enemy territory.

Wright was happy with the defensive effort, but said PCA would have to limit its mistakes in the future. If they don’t, though, the Eagles still have plenty of time to iron things out. Only two starters return from last year’s team, and nine starters this season are either sophomores or juniors.

“We had some trouble with the teams in the jamboree. We’re definitely going to have to take a step up,” Busby said. “We just have to keep working hard in practice. We can’t get sidetracked.”