Eagles still looking for answers after big win

Published 12:02 pm Monday, August 22, 2011

Porters Chapel Academy’s season-opener was a true rarity — a lopsided win that left the team with as many questions about its talent as it answered.

The Eagles scored with such ease and frequency in a 56-0 blowout of Union Christian on Friday night that they had little opportunity to see their offense in action. They needed only 14 offensive snaps to score seven touchdowns and scored on the first play of a drive five times.

The longest possession lasted six plays, largely because it was designed to give quarterback Jonah Masterson some work throwing short passes. Union Christian, which fell to 2-20 in its last 22 games, offered such little resistance that its defense more closely resembled a junior varsity scout team than a bonafide varsity opponent.

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“It’s more of a confidence type thing. Knowing that what we have in does work a little bit,” said PCA’s Wade Patrick, who was victorious in his debut as the school’s head coach. “It’s hard to take a lot from it. But it gives those guys confidence. Those young receivers that hadn’t played the position before. We went 60, 70 yards and marched it down the field passing with young receivers that hadn’t seen a lot of time.”

Although Union Christian was clearly overmatched, it didn’t diminish some of the impressive performances by PCA:

• The defense didn’t allow a first down and kept Union to minus-10 yards of total offense. Union’s longest play went for a mere 7 yards.

“Being a defensive coach the last five years, nothing frustrates me more than giving up cheap touchdowns or a lack of fundamentals. I was very pleased with the defense,” Patrick said.

Patrick added that, although the entire defense played well, linebacker Rich Murphy was the driving force behind the effort.

“Rich Murphy, being a middle linebacker, looked like he controlled the game. He did everything we told him to do in this game. He hit their tight end literally every play he came over the middle,” Patrick said.

• Running back Kawayne Gaston carried the ball three times for 63 yards and two touchdowns. In all, Gaston touched the ball five times — he also returned two punts, one of them for a TD — and was only touched by a defender on two of them.

• Peter Harris, originally penciled in as the starting quarterback while Masterson recovered from appendicitis, also had a nice touchdown run. His 52-yarder was a zig-zagging romp through the Union Christian defense that made it 21-0 with 4:40 left in the first quarter.

It was the only snap Harris took at quarterback. He also caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Masterson.

• Masterson finished 4-of-5 passing for 61 yards and two touchdowns. He also scrambled twice for 58 yards, and took a hard hit at the end of a third-quarter run that left the entire Eagles sideline cringing.

Part of the gameplan was to keep Masterson from taking any unnecessary risks or hard hits. Instead of going out of bounds at the end of the play, Masterson cut back to the inside seeking more yardage and was driven to the turf by a Union defender.

The extra effort earned Masterson a talking-to on the sideline, but didn’t deter him from running with the football. On PCA’s last play, a miscommunication nixed a called fullback dive. Masterson kept the ball, bootlegged right and ran 26 yards for a touchdown.

“I got on him his long run before that (the touchdown) to get out of bounds and he slides over and tries to run over a guy. You can’t take that out of him. That’s just the competitor in him. And that’s what I love about this team, that they’re so competitive and fight,” Patrick said. “If we can get that effort all year, we’re going to be competitive in games and have a chance to win. That’s all I can ask.”