Porters Chapel aims to corral the Hounds

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008

Porters Chapel learned a couple of things in its playoff opener last week.

First, it can win even when it doesn’t have its “A” game. And second, it can no longer afford to leave the “A” game at home.

PCA hosts a second-round playoff game tonight against Huntington, and from here on out, the difficulty level takes a big step up. The four remaining teams in the south half of the MPSA Class A bracket  — PCA, Huntington, Glenbrook and Sylva Bay — include three division champions and more than 40 wins among them.

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“It just whipped us up and got us in gear and realize it’s time to play ball,” PCA tailback Josh Perry said of last week’s 10-0 first-round win over Tallulah. “The playoffs are here, and Huntington is pretty darn good.”

Huntington is, indeed, a quality opponent. The Hounds are the only non-division winner among the South’s final four, but are also 9-3 and have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in their backfield. Tailback Jeremy Randall has rushed for 2,336 yards this season, while fullback Josh Lee is close to 1,000 yards.

Huntington coach Chad Harkins said Randall was the team’s big-play threat, but it was Lee who makes the team go. In last week’s first-round, 44-24 win over Newton Academy, Lee ran for 71 yards and also forced a fumble on defense that he returned for the clinching touchdown.

“He’s the guy,” Harkins said. “The Lee kid makes that all go. He’s got over 1,000 yards, but he does a lot of blocking for us and opens holes for the others.”

PCA faced a two-headed monster at tailback last week and did pretty well. Tallulah’s Justin Horath and Cody Landrem, who both ran for more than 1,000 yards this season, were held to a combined 70 yards on 29 carries. Tallulah scored 49 points and rolled up more than 200 rushing yards in a wild 58-49 loss to Huntington earlier this season.

Of course, Huntington had 380 yards in that game  —  Randall scored five touchdowns — and PCA coach Randy Wright was keenly aware of how explosive the Hounds can be.

“Huntington is loaded. They’re a team full of athletes. They have a huge offensive line and three talented running backs. We have our hands full,” Wright said. “They get behind their offensive line and just pound it at you.”

PCA also has a loaded backfield, with Perry (1,446 yards and 18 touchdowns) and quarterback Clayton Holmes, who has run for 805 yards. Between his running, passing and kick returns, Holmes has accounted for 2,811 yards and 30 touchdowns. The Eagles may have to do without his services, though. He tweaked a lingering quadriceps injury early in the Tallulah game, and will be a gametime decision on Friday.

If Holmes can’t go, speedy receiver Colby Rushing will slide over to quarterback.

“It completely limited us last Friday night,” Wright said. “This Friday, I’m calling the plays and he’s going to have to do it. If he can’t do it, Colby will be prepared to do it.”


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com.