PCA, St. Al get first look at district opponents

Published 9:22 am Thursday, August 13, 2015

Friday night’s jamboree games will give teams across Mississippi a chance to get a sneak peek at their rosters. St. Aloysius and Porters Chapel Academy will also see some others they’ll want to keep an eye on.

St. Al will play district opponents Riverfield Academy and Central Hinds in the Millsaps College Jamboree Friday at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., respectively. PCA will play Hillcrest Christian — which it’ll face again in the regular season on Sept. 11 — at 5:30 p.m., and Brookhaven Academy at 7.

The preseason games are usually more about teams fine-tuning their own lineups, but PCA coach Wayne Lynch said he was also looking forward to the chance to do some scouting.

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“It helps a lot. It keeps them fresh in your mind. The sooner we play them, the more we’ll remember,” Lynch said. “It gives us an idea of what their offensive and defensive game plans are going to be, and we can prepare for them.”

St. Al coach BJ Smithhart took the opposite view.The Flashes will revisit their two jamboree opponents in crucial district games, but not until late October. Injuries and adjustments over the next three months will likely make most of the intelligence gleaned from two quarters in mid-August obsolete.

“Those are the last two games of the season. You always prefer not to play district teams, but we’re going to be real basic and just play. You just want to play a game,” Smithhart said.

It’s also important, he said, not to show too much too soon.

Besides not giving away secrets to Riverfield and Central Hinds, Smithhart doesn’t want to show anything on film that Cathedral can use against him in next week’s season opener in Natchez.

“I think we just want to work on the basic things and not tip our hand too much for the first game,” Smithhart said. “Everybody’s pretty much the same way. We’re going to run our plays. We’re just not going to reveal anything.”

While they’re trying to play things close to the vest, both Smithhart and Lynch will try to see what their own teams are capable of. The jamboree provides the only live game action teams will have before the season opener next week.

In PCA’s case, it might be the only time they get some experience against full opposition.

The Eagles only have 21 players on the roster, meaning they can’t do the 11-on-11 scrimmages most programs take for granted.

The jamboree will give Lynch a valuable tool to assess his team and make adjustments before next week’s season opener at St. Andrew’s.

“The main thing is, we’re trying to figure out who fits in what positions best, and what works and doesn’t work for us,” Lynch said. “It’s a good start for us, with not a lot of pressure. It gives them a chance to get some live game action under their belt, which we don’t get a lot of.”

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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