PCA stays positive as it strives to build a program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 2004

[12/14/04] The Washington School arrived in Bovina Monday afternoon with the state’s top ranking of all Mississippi Private School Association teams, nine state tournament appearances and four state titles.

The team they played had yet to score a goal, went by nicknames such as Banana, Kicker, Kimbo and Solo.

The victory for Washington was fairly simple the Generals defeated Porters Chapel 11-0 and outshot the Eagles 38-2.

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In the end, though, the dividends of this loss, and the two before it, should pay off for Porters Chapel.

“We started out the same way,” said Washington coach Todd Lott, who has coached the Generals for 14 of the 16 years the team has been in existence. “We have a good youth program and have built a pretty good tradition. It makes it easier after you’ve built that tradition.”

Porters Chapel has been shut out by double digits in each of its first three games all to ranked teams. The team is made up of about half boys and half girls, while every team they’ve played so far has had nothing but boys.

“We go out saying, this is going to hurt and I’m a little nervous, but I’m going out there anyway,'” said Tori Grafton, whose father, Clinton, is president of the Vicksburg Soccer Organization. “They’re just bigger than me. I can take em.”

Washington scored seven goals in the first half, and added four more in the second. PCA coach Chris Busby was hoping to keep the high-powered Generals under double-digits.

“If we could have held them under double-digits, that would have been real close to a win,” Busby said.

Busby, a Porters Chapel graduate and assistant baseball and football coach, admittedly knew little about soccer when he took the position of starting the program.

Since he started, he has watched Vicksburg and Warren Central matches trying to pick up on strategies, player placements and any other nugget of information he can pull. He’s enlisted the services of local soccer players Carlos Lee, Jose Sanchez, Chris Grafton and anyone else who will lend their time.

He knows he’s learning as much as the players.

“It’s a good opportunity to start a team and we are the leaders of this team,” said Anna Fumbanks, nicknamed Banana, who is playing soccer for the first time in her career. “It’s fun being out here.”

On Monday, the Eagles played everyone on the roster, while the rest found shelter from a bitterly cold night by hovering over a makeshift fire in an oil drum.

It was the Eagles’ last game until after Christmas, and the team is planning on practicing sparingly over the holidays. Busby urged his players at the end of Tuesday’s game to work on fundamentals.

The Eagles are scheduled to play Jackson Academy, the No. 4 team in the state, on Jan. 3. Busby knows getting a win will be tough. But wins don’t really matter right now.

“I see improvement every game,” Busby said. “As long as we keep improving every time, we will head somewhere. If we were going backward, it would be a different story. But we are going forward and that’s what we need to be doing.”