PCA glad to be back at home

Published 1:23 pm Friday, September 24, 2010

A two-game homestand is just what the doctor ordered for Porters Chapel.

After weathering a three-game, murderer’s row stretch of powerhouses River Oaks, University Christian and defending Class A champion Trinity, the schedule eases up starting with Prentiss Christian (2-3) tonight.

The boost of playing in front of the hometown fans is something PCA coach John Weaver feels his team needs to snap a three-game losing skid.

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“They’re ready to get back on the field,” Weaver said. “It’s a true test of our guys’ characters. You got hit by a right hook, a left hook and an uppercut and we’re still standing. Our guys knew we were going to take on and in the long run, it’s going to make us better.”

The Eagles (2-3) are aiming to improve a run defense shredded in three consecutive weeks. A rejuvenated Caze Brewer’s play at nose guard was the lone bright spot against Trinity, as he tallied a game-high 11 tackles and blocked a field goal. Montana McDaniel, who left the game with a separated shoulder, was sorely missed on defense, where he plays at middle linebacker. He’ll sit out tonight’s game, but is expected back for next week’s district contest against Russell Christian.

“First of all, we’re making sure our defensive linemen are in the proper techniques,” Weaver said. “It wasn’t so much our D-line play, but our linebackers not coming upfield. Our run defense is not where we want it to be.”

On offense, the Eagles want to avoid drive-killing turnovers in scoring position. Three times the Eagles ventured deep into Trinity territory, but came away empty thanks to turnovers.

Jonah Masterson has completed 52 of 88 passes for 695 yards and six touchdowns, but with six costly interceptions.

The new pistol formation, which lines up the quarterback for a shorter shotgun snap with a tailback behind him and a H-back as a lead blocker, was very effective against the Saints’ defense, especially on the opening drive.

“A break here and there, we’re right in that game (Trinity),” Weaver said. “The score was ugly, but they had a lot of short fields, we had a lot of turnovers and against a good team, you can’t do that.”

As for this week’s foe, Prentiss Christian has been a feast or famine operation. Big wins over Bayou Academy and Ben’s Ford and a competitive showing in a loss against University Christian are balanced against blowouts at the hands of Tri-County and Wayne Academy.

Weaver feels his team will start to hit its stride in the stretch run. With must-win District 5-A games against Russell and Newton Academy still ahead, the Eagles will need to be resilient.

“We’ve played three tough games, but I feel very confident that our guys are going to bounce back,” Weaver said. “They know there is a bigger goal. Our guys have been battle-tested early.”