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PCA playoff-bound with win over SIA

[10/2/04]ROLLING FORK For the first time in six years, Porters Chapel Academy is playoff-bound.

Chris Mixon rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns, PCA’s defense held Sharkey-Issaquena running back Zack McDaniel to a season-low 91 yards, and the Eagles clinched a playoff berth with a convincing 42-12 win over SIA (2-5, 1-2).

Gerald Mims added 66 yards and a touchdown on the ground for PCA, which will make its first postseason appearance since 1998 and can win the first district title in school history by winning its last two games. SIA was eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.

“We’ve worked so hard, and I’m so happy for the kids,” PCA coach Randy Wright said. “This coaching staff has worked tirelessly this year, and the kids have spent hours and hours in the weight room and on the practice field. They’ve worked so hard, they deserve everything they get.”

PCA’s defense put the clamps on McDaniel all night. The SIA star entered the game with 1,274 rushing yards, and had been held under 100 yards once in six games last week against Prairie View, when he was injured after only three carries.

McDaniel played despite two torn ligaments in his elbow, but struggled against the Eagles’ ferocious defense. He carried 20 times for 91 yards and a touchdown, and had just three runs longer than 10 yards.

“It hurt every time I got hit, and every time I hit the ground,” said McDaniel, who played with a protective brace on his left arm that left deep bruises from his wrist to his bicep. “I just knew I had to keep playing, and play hard. It was on the line, win or go home, and that was all that was on my mind. I wasn’t feeling hardly any pain.”

PCA’s defense also forced three turnovers and held SIA to three first downs in the second half.

“We had a great defensive plan. Our coaching staff just came up with a wonderful plan this week, and our team just executed it to perfection and bottled (McDaniel) up all night long,” Wright said. “We let him break loose one time for a little touchdown run, but other than that I think we pretty much shut him down better than anybody else has this year.”

Mixon had no such problems as he shredded SIA’s defense.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior scored two touchdowns in the first half, a 37-yarder and a 61-yarder, as PCA built a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.

SIA got back into the game with a 28-yard TD run by McDaniel and a 12-yard TD pass from Tyler Hankins to Seth Brown on the final play of the first half, but Mixon put the game out of reach with one brilliant run in the third quarter.

A 24-yard run by McDaniel gave SIA the ball at the PCA 23-yard line with just over two minutes to play and the Confederates trailing 21-12. Spencer Carney sacked Hankins, however, forcing a fumble with a vicious blindside hit.

On the next play, Mixon broke a couple of tackles at the line of scrimmage, spun out of another in the secondary, and ran 57 yards for a backbreaking touchdown.

Mixon added a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as the Eagles put the game away.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Mixon said. “I was mentally just ready for this game.”