PCA pulls benefits from 7-on-7 drills

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Porters Chapel Academy faced a tough task this summer in breaking in a freshman quarterback, getting a new coaching staff and team to gel, and reinvigorating a program coming off its worst season in six years.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t THAT tough.

PCA has gone 5-2 in its tour of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools’ 7-on-7 league this summer. With the success, the other problems have solved themselves, first-year coach John Weaver said.

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“It’s helping in all phases of our game,” Weaver said. “Not just the passing, but our pass defense too. We’re working on tweaking some stuff in our coverages.”

PCA will play a home 7-on-7 scrimmage tonight at 6 against Central Hinds as the start of a busy week. The team will host its first youth football camp on Wednesday, then play two more 7-on-7 games against Union Christian on Friday and Cathedral next Tuesday.

By the time preseason practice begins on July 26 the Eagles will have played about a dozen such games. The playing time has helped freshman quarterback Jonah Masterson adjust to the leap from junior varsity to varsity, Weaver said.

“We’re going with a freshman quarterback, so as a coaching staff we want to get as much real time with him in the passing game as we can so he can get acclimated,” Weaver said. “It’s a good learning tool for him. It’s a glorified practice that I don’t think they’ve ever done here before.”

The 7-on-7 games have helped more than Masterson, Weaver added. They provide a nice break from the usual summer routine of lifting weights and conditioning drills. That, in turn, has given the team a spark it needed after last year’s 4-8 season — the program’s first without a winning record since 2003.

“It helps our guys with their attitude. They want to get out there and throw the ball around. Our attendance this summer has been good, and it teaches them to compete in the summer,” said Weaver, who has 26 players on the varsity roster. “The kids are buying into the program. It’s only the beginning of July and they’re already ready for August 20.”