Eagles thrive with unique schedule

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The temperature had already climbed above 90 degrees early Monday afternoon when Porters Chapel Academy’s football players huddled up in the end zone. A quick prayer ended the first day of practice, still in plenty of time to grab a late lunch.

The Eagles opened their unorthodox two-a-day schedule Monday by cramming two full workouts and a weightlifting session into a six-hour span. The team arrived around 7 a.m., wrapped things up around 1 p.m., and will follow a similar schedule all week.

Most teams split up their workouts on the first day Mississippi schools were allowed to practice, but PCA coach Wade Patrick said he prefers to keep his players together and get all their work done early.

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“It was something we did at Bayou (Academy) one year and I liked it,” Patrick said. “My biggest deal is we have the kids here. We know what they’re eating and drinking, and we’re making sure they’re hydrated. We know where they’re at and what they’re putting in their bodies. We don’t have to worry about them going home and not coming back or oversleeping.”

PCA’s players said they also preferred the condensed schedule. Besides finishing early, they said skipping the hours-long break between morning and afternoon workouts keeps them in a rhythm on the field.

“It keeps everybody here. Nobody has a chance to get away and do something stupid. I feel like we get more work in that way,” junior quarterback Jonah Masterson said. “This is the best two-a-days I’ve been to. Everybody’s excited to be out here and we’re loving it.”

PCA will continue two-a-days until Friday, then will host a scrimmage Saturday at 1 p.m. against Tallulah Academy. PCA will not play a jamboree before its season opener Aug. 17 at Union Christian.

As they build toward the start of the season, both Patrick and his players said they were enjoying the vibe around the team. About four-fifths of the 22-man roster attended every summer workout, and the percentage was even higher on the junior varsity team.

Patrick was encouraged not only by the dedication shown so far, but also by the leadership his upper classmen have displayed.

“I like the team we’ve got,” he said. “I like the leadership. You go a long way with guys that are leaders and who care, and we’ve got guys like that.”