Banged-up Eagles head to the Delta|[9/22/06]

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 22, 2006

Porters Chapel Academy moved up to the MPSA’s Class AA this year, but it’s facing a problem all too familiar to schools in its old, lower division.

A string of injuries have sidelined three key starters for tonight’s game at Indianola Academy and seriously depleted PCA’s depth. For a team that only had about 25 on the roster to begin with – and used about 16 of those on a regular basis – an injury to one player means two or three replacements must be found.

&#8220We’re banged up. But this is football and injuries happen, and we’re going to have to find 11 guys we can put on the field,” PCA coach Randy Wright said.

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The three players who will miss tonight’s game are lineman Jacob Morgan, linebacker and running back Moose Carney, and special teamer Luke Willis.

Morgan is one of only six linemen on the roster, while Willis is the Eagles’ special teams captain. Carney is the team’s leading rusher and tackler.

The loss of Carney, who strained a ligament in his left knee in the first half of last week’s loss to Huntington, is particularly tough to handle.

Carney led the team with 201 rushing yards at fullback and 49 tackles at linebacker. He also called the defensive plays, and against Huntington his loss left the Eagles scrambling to find someone who could interpret the coaches’ signals from the sideline.

Carney’s injury will keep him out for this week’s game, and possibly next Friday’s non-district tilt with Glenbrook. Carney began rehabbing the knee on Tuesday and Wright said the goal was to have him back for a key District 4-AA game against Riverfield on Oct. 6.

&#8220That’s three big losses for us. Moose is a devastating loss for us, but we have to try and get through that,” Wright said. &#8220Moose is a leader for us. Anytime, in high school football, when you lose one of your better players, it hurts.”

Lineman Matt Hall also is battling a stomach virus that left him severely dehydrated and 11 pounds lighter after last week’s loss to Huntington. Hall has been on medication and will play this week, as will several other players who are fighting minor ailments.

The injuries come at a time when the Eagles are already fighting the turnover bug. PCA has committed 11 turnovers in its first four games, including four last week.

The miscues have derailed an experienced, senior-laden offense and left the team trying to figure out ways to correct them before they really cost them. Both of PCA’s losses so far have been in non-district games.

&#8220We made a lot of mistakes. We could easily be 3-1 or 4-0 without the turnovers. We’re doing everything we can to get rid of them,” said PCA receiver Michael Busby, who leads the team with 15 catches for 249 yards, but had a costly fumble against Huntington. &#8220It’s probably a lack of concentration. We know what to do, we’re just being lackadaisical. We’ve been doing it so long, we look over the little things.”