East Holmes next in line to try to take down potent PCA|[11/11/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 11, 2005

Porters Chapel Academy coach Randy Wright insists his team isn’t dwelling on its accomplishments this season.

The 10-game winning streak? The 10 points and 400 total yards allowed? The 10 games without allowing an offensive touchdown?

All fine and good, but it means nothing if the Eagles don’t keep adding to those streaks and bring home a state title. It’s a good philosophy to have, especially since the road is about to get a lot bumpier for PCA.

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All of the pretenders are gone from the North half of the Academy-A playoff bracket, leaving only four juggernauts to battle for a spot in the state championship game. PCA (10-0) hosts East Holmes (9-2) in one second-round game tonight, while Delta Academy (11-0) faces Lee, Ark. (10-1) in the other.

All four teams won their respective district titles, and only Lee has allowed more than 100 points on defense. The Cougars have experience and a powerful offense on their side, though, having scored 451 points a season after reaching the Class A title game.

&#8220In the north, the teams that won the four districts all won last week. We definitely feel like there are no easy games left in the playoffs,” said Wright, whose team dispatched Benton Academy 39-0 last Friday.

While the Delta-Lee game figures to be an offensive shootout – Lee has scored 44 or more points in five of its last six games, while Delta has gone over the 31-point mark in each of its last six contests – the PCA-East Holmes matchup could be high-scoring or a defensive struggle.

The Raiders employ an offense that utilizes double-wing and spread formations. The contrast in styles should keep PCA on its toes and might finally bring an end to the Eagles’ defensive scoreless streak.

&#8220They run a little different offense than we’ve seen. They run the football extremely well and have a lot of team speed. We’re very concerned about their athleticism,” Wright said.

What the Eagles aren’t concerned about, Wright insists, is the remarkable string of defensive performances they’ve put together. In 10 games, only Tri-County has found the end zone against PCA – on a fumble return on a kickoff.

PCA has had a half-dozen goal line stands over the course of the year, withstood a number of turnovers in its own territory and kept any big plays from turning into scores.

And while the Eagles aren’t dwelling on the streak, they do take pride in it. After Benton recovered a fumble last week, running back Kenny Simms chased down the Raiders’ Stephen Harris and tackled him at the 5-yard line.

Six plays followed – the last five from inside the 2-yard line – and the PCA defense held firm. It was the final nail in the coffin for Benton, which trailed 24-0 at the time.

They don’t want to lose to anyone either, which is why they’re keeping a level head. When Lee put them out of the playoffs in the first round last year, the Eagles learned a lot, running back Chris Mixon said.

&#8220We’ve just got to be focused on the team we have to beat and not look ahead,” said Mixon, who has rushed for 1,154 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. &#8220You’ve just got to try to keep it in your head. Last year, that’s what we didn’t do, and we learned from that.”