Federick’s run clinches PCA win

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 29, 2009

To borrow a term, Friday’s clash between Prairie View and Porters Chapel was an ESPN Instant Classic.

Battle of attrition would have worked too.

PCA running back Kruz Federick scored on a 26-yard dive play with 25 seconds remaining and later took the handoff up the middle for the game-clinching two-point conversion as PCA earned a 34-33 victory over Prairie View.

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“When they call my number, I just want to put it in the end zone and help our team out,” Federick said. “It’s amazing to know that playing a (Class) AA team, that we can pull out a win with our second and third string players.”

The drive came after Patrick Laird took sophomore quarterback Gray Hales’ errant pass 2 yards to paydirt, putting Prairie View up 33-26 with just over four minutes remaining.

After Federick’s run, the Spartans had one last chance, but Richard Brown sacked Laird for a loss and Laird’s final desperation heave as the final horn sounded was batted away by Jay Wiley to cap the victory.

Earlier in the contest, it appeared that PCA was cruising, up 18-7 with 4:10 left in the second quarter, as their offense appeared unstoppable and their defense was ascendant.

Then injuries mounted in a way almost biblical.

John Michael Harris had to be rushed to the emergency room after he had a poor reaction with his diabetes. Tight end Reed Gordon left the field with an injured knee and sprained ankle when he fell awkwardly trying to haul in a pass. Then quarterback Colby Rushing heard a pop in his ankle rolling out and did not return. Lineman Jacob Smithy sprained his ankle in the third quarter and did not return. Later in the third quarter, defensive lineman Zach Rachal had to be taken via ambulance to the hospital as a precaution after a neck stinger.

“Everything we worked on offensively, we didn’t use one single play,” PCA coach Bill Fleming said. “We kept losing someone every other play, but our guys never quit.”

So the PCA offense was down to sophomore Hales, making his first varsity appearance at quarterback with no tight end, a patchwork line and only Wiley, who had 22 carries, 168 yards and one score in the contest, to shoulder the burden. Since all of those lost starters played both ways, it proved to be a double-whammy.

Prairie View narrowed the margin to 18-13 when quarterback Hunter Smith took the keeper 10 yards for a score with 54 seconds remaining in the first half.

Montana McDaniel gave his young quarterback a cushion on the opening kickoff of the second half, as he went 80 yards to paydirt to put PCA up two scores after Wiley’s two-point conversion run at 26-13.

Prairie View finally rallied thanks to a punt that pinned PCA back at their own 2. The Spartans took advantage three plays later, as Hales was hauled down on a rollout in the end zone for a safety to cut the margin to 26-15.

The Spartans got a 75-yard score from Robby Jones, after an Andrew Wall interception was negated by penalty, who took advantage of a depleted PCA defense to cut the margin to 26-21 with 58 seconds left in the third.

Prairie View got its first advantage since leading 7-0 early in the first as Smith took the keeper 40 yards around right tackle to put the Spartans up 27-26 with 7:42 remaining in the contest.

“It was a heck of a ballgame,” Prairie View coach Don King said. “I was proud of Porters Chapel and I was proud of our kids. They put it on the line. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”


Contact Steve Wilson at swilson@vicksburgpost.com