Porters Chapel on quest for district title

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ever since Porters Chapel Academy ascended to the No. 1 ranking in Class A, its opponents have marked their calendars. Finally, the Eagles get to return the favor.

PCA heads to Raymond on Friday to face Central Hinds, with the winner claiming the District 5-A title. It’s a showdown they’ve been not only working toward, but expecting, all season.

“We’ve been everybody else’s Super Bowl all year. This is our Super Bowl. This is a game we circled on our schedule,” PCA coach Randy Wright said. “This is the team we’ve been practicing for the last 13 weeks to play, so this is what it’s all about.”

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If the last two months have just been a warmup for PCA, it might be a long night for Central Hinds.

PCA (8-0, 3-0 District 5-A) has been held under 30 points only once this season — in a 17-15, Week 2 win over River Oaks. Central Hinds played River Oaks three weeks ago and lost 26-7. Including kick returns, Porters Chapel is averaging nearly 500 total yards a game. It’s outscored opponents 241-41 in the first half.

“One of the main reasons we’ve been winning is we’re setting a tone early and not giving them any room or any time to fight back,” said quarterback Clayton Holmes.

Although Central Hinds is just 4-4 (3-0 in district play) entering the game, all four of its losses have been to Class AA teams. Two losses were by a total of five points, and it has held five opponents to seven points or less.

“They have a really tough schedule. That’s one of our disadvantages,” Holmes said. “They’ve been tested a little more than we have.”

Indeed, one of the big questions surrounding PCA is whether its dominance is a product of truly great play or simply an easy schedule. Of its eight opponents so far, only two have winning records. The other six teams are a combined 10-33.

Holmes felt, however, that the Eagles have faced enough adversity to prepare for a tough game. They needed to come from behind to beat River Oaks in the final minute, and they rebounded from an early touchdown to rout Jackson, Ala., 42-18 last week. PCA has also fought through a rash of injuries that has dinged up a half-dozen starters.

“Jackson recovered an onsides kick to start the game and took it in and scored. That’s the first time all year we’ve been behind in the first half,” Holmes said. “Having things not go our way was something we definitely needed to see before playing Central Hinds.”


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com.