Realignment keeps PCA on steady ground

Published 10:35 am Thursday, December 18, 2014

Porters Chapel Academy coach Wayne Lynch watches his team during the Red Carpet Bowl in August. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Porters Chapel Academy coach Wayne Lynch watches his team during the Red Carpet Bowl in August. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Porters Chapel Academy will move up to Class AA, at least in name, as the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools shuffles its districts in a move that’s as much rebranding as it is realigning.

The MAIS will consolidate its two largest classifications — formerly Class AAA — into one, named Class AAAA. The old Class A and AA will get an extra “A” added to their names, but will largely retain the same core schools from the last realignment cycle.

A fourth classification will consist mostly of schools that play 8-man football, but has not yet been named, MAIS Director of Activities and Athletics Les Triplett said. Most of those same schools will also make up Class A in all other sports.

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The end result is a normal, if slightly confusing, realignment for most schools.

“Basically what they did was the teams in A they moved up to AA except for some 8-man teams. We’ll basically play the same teams as we did in the past,” Porters Chapel athletic director Wade Patrick said.

During football season, PCA will be in District 5-AA with Trinity, Wilkinson County Christian, and Amite School. PCA, Trinity and WCCA have been in the same district for the past two years.

In all other sports, PCA will be in the larger District 5-AA along with Clinton Christian, Franklin Academy, Trinity, WCCA and Amite.

Patrick said he and his coaches were OK with the new alignment, which includes some familiar faces and keeps travel times about the same as they’ve been in the recent past.

“We’re happy with it. Even if we weren’t, we couldn’t do anything about it,” Patrick said with a laugh. “That’s pretty good for us. Where we’re located at, we’re going to have to get some from the Louisiana side. It would make more sense for us to drive there than somebody from the Canton area.”

The realignment in most classifications broke down neatly, along geographic lines:

• In Class AAA, Central Hinds will be in District 3-AAA along with Riverfield, Park Place, Hartfield Academy and Manchester Academy.

• Seven Louisiana schools, including Briarfield, will constitute District 6-AA for 11-man football. District 3-AA contains Greenville Christian and five schools along I-55. District 1-AA has five north Mississippi schools, 4-AA is a southeastern cluster, and 2-AA has five schools spanning the state on U.S. 82.

• In 8-man football, Tallulah Academy and Sharkey-Issaquena will join Franklin, Tensas and Humphreys Academies in District 4. That classification has three other districts that break down along the same geographic lines as Class AA.

• For all other sports, Tallulah will be in Class AA along with Claiborne Academy, Glenbrook, Union Christian, Prairie View and River Oaks.

SIA will compete in a Class A district with Humphreys, Christ Covenant, Veritas, Mt. Salus and Rebul Academy.

“We’re not really getting rid of (Class A), it’s just that 8-man football has made us refocus in the football realignment,” Triplett said.

Triplett added that a football playoff format for the next two years has not been decided upon, but he did expect the wild card system to come back. Sixteen teams in the middle two classifications made the playoffs last season — the top two in each district, and then six more as determined by a power points system.

Triplett said the format helped generate interest among teams that otherwise would have been out of it, such as Porters Chapel. The Eagles only won two games, and were out of the district race by the end of September, but made the playoffs as a wild card.

“The wild card system has been extremely successful, and we’re 99.99 percent sure we’ll continue to do that,” Triplett said.

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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