Weaver takes over PCA football program|Prep football

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Porters Chapel has found its man to lead the football program.

And PCA officials had only to cross the river to find him.

Vicksburg native and former PCA assistant coach John Weaver took over as the Eagles’ head coach on Tuesday after spending a year as Tallulah Academy’s coach.

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He rejoins his mentor Doug Branning, who left Tallulah to become PCA’s headmaster. It was little surprise when Bill Fleming stepped down as coach that Branning tapped his former top lieutenant for the position.

“It was pretty much him,” Branning said of his shortlist of candidates. “We’re excited to have my good friend John with me and I have all of the confidence in him personally and professionally and as a leader of young people. We look very forward to the future.”

Weaver, who lives in Vicksburg and who is soon to be married, said that his primary motivation was the desire to work with Branning and be closer to his family in town, including his ailing grandfather.

“Doug Branning and I work well together as a team,” Weaver said. “A big influence was being closer to my family. Nothing against Tallulah, because I love those kids and I love that school and I’m thankful for the opportunity I had there. It wasn’t a spur-of the-moment type of deal.”

The hiring will only add spice to PCA’s season opener against Tallulah at Eagles Field in August. Weaver led the Trojans to 27-23 victory over PCA last season.

He will inherit an excellent core of talent like defensive back Montana McDaniel, running back Kreuz Federick and linemen Caze Brewer and Ghost Jones. There is also a strong junior high class coming up.

 Weaver’s work ethic, which Branning experienced firsthand with him as his defensive coordinator, was a big draw.

“He’s what I call a 24/7 coach,” Branning said. “He’s an extremely knowledgable coach and he has outstanding leadership qualities for leading young people.”

As for what kind of schemes he will implement at PCA, Weaver was cagey. All that one can expect from Weaver is a supply of Nila wafer cookies and yellow steno pads with scribbled ideas.

“I’m always thinking of how to get ahead of the next guy. I’m always watching film,” Weaver said. “I’m not one of these guys who is stuck on one particular philosophy. I believe that you have to adapt to your talent and put your best athletes in the best situations so they can produce for me.”

The 29-year-old is a former punter at Hinds Community College and Delta State and he was an assistant, North Sunflower and Sharkey-Issaquena along with PCA before heading to Tallulah.

Weaver’s top assistant will be Jerry Bourne, the PCA baseball coach who will return to run PCA’s offense as he did under Fleming.

Contact Steve Wilson at swilson@vicksburgpost.com