PCA basks in first Red Carpet Bowl victory

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 24, 2014

Porters Chapel running back Hunter Lyons stiff-arms Union Christian’s Corey Mason during Friday’s Red Carpet Bowl. PCA won, 34-26. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Porters Chapel running back Hunter Lyons stiff-arms Union Christian’s Corey Mason during Friday’s Red Carpet Bowl. PCA won, 34-26. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Giving up 26 points and surviving a dogfight against a team that’s only won three games in five seasons would give most coaches ulcers.
It put a smile on Wayne Lynch’s face.
Lynch’s Porters Chapel Academy squad overcame a slew of mistakes, injuries and 100-degree heat Friday to beat Union Christian 34-26 in the Red Carpet Bowl. The way the Eagles fought through all of the adversity thrown at them had Lynch beaming with pride afterward.
“It just showed the fight that we had in us. When you don’t quit, you’ve always got a chance,” Lynch said. “Union is much improved from the past few years, and we fought through it. We had cramps, we had injuries, and every time I looked around I’d see guys coming back on the field that had come off. There was no quit. As a coach, that’s the thing I’m most proud of.”
PCA needed every ounce of fight it had just to survive its first Red Carpet Bowl.
Hunter Lyons, a senior middle linebacker and running back, went down with a dislocated shoulder. A number of other players — on both teams — were suffering from cramps in the blazing afternoon heat.
And then there was Union Christian, a team PCA had beaten by a combined score of 166-14 in three previous meetings but which refused to roll over in round four.
The Lions cashed in a turnover for a touchdown, scored on a quick 58-second drive just before halftime, and returned a kickoff in the third quarter to finally give PCA a competitive game.
Union Christian also had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter when a muffed punt gave them first-and-goal inside the PCA 10-yard line. The Eagles made a goal line stand, however, to maintain a 34-26 lead that they ended up taking to the final whistle.
“Despite the cramps and all the adversity we faced, we were able to pull it together and muster enough energy to make that stand right there,” Lynch said. “They refused to get scored on. That’s the attitude I’m looking for. If we can continue with that, we’ll have a lot of success this year.”
Lynch added that he was proud of his team’s overall defensive effort as well. There’s only 16 players on the varsity roster, with a few ninth-graders seeing playing time to fill the gaps.
As some starting falling off because of injuries and cramps on Friday, the younger players stepped in and performed well, he said.
The Eagles had four sacks and forced two turnovers in the game. Sophomore Patrick Minor had seven tackles and a sack, and fellow sophomore Garrett Hutchins had nine tackles and two pass defenses.
“I think our defense is going to continue to grow and get stronger,” Lynch said. “Without the cramping and injuries, our defense is really strong. Even when we brought the young guys, the ninth-graders in, they did a fantastic job of making tackles, covering. They did a great job.”

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About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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