PCA’s game up in the air

Published 9:30 am Thursday, August 27, 2015

Porters Chapel Academy ran through a crisp 90-minute practice Wednesday afternoon, in preparation for a game it might or might not play, against an opponent who might or might not be there.

The Eagles are scheduled to play Riverdale on Friday night, but PCA coach Wayne Lynch said he received word Wednesday that the game might be canceled because Riverdale doesn’t have enough players to field a full team.

A final decision is expected today, so in the meantime PCA’s players and coaches continued their normal practice week until hearing some news one way or the other.

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“They had some injuries and they were already kind of low in numbers. I think they called MAIS, and all I was told is it’s a possibility we won’t be playing,” Lynch said. “We were trying to locate somebody else to play. I don’t know if it’s going to work out.”

Lynch said if Riverdale does cancel its game, the alternatives include taking an open date, or finding a Louisiana public school or a home school team to play.

Most MAIS teams are playing Friday — the result of another schedule shuffle earlier this month when St. Aloysius, Cathedral and Greenville-St. Joseph joined the association — and Louisiana public schools start their regular season as well.

Even if PCA is able to wrangle an opponent on 24 hours’ notice, it presents another problem in terms of preparation. Each team would essentially be going into the game blind.

“It’s real difficult, because we don’t know anything about who we may potentially play. We don’t know if there’s even a possibility of playing or not. We’re just preparing for Riverdale right now. If something changes we’ll just have to call (another team) tomorrow and spend some time trying to figure out what they do. It’s going to be a tough adjustment,” Lynch said.

One thing Lynch does want is to play. PCA is coming off a 35-0 loss to St. Andrew’s in its season opener, and the Riverdale game presented a golden opportunity for both teams to pick up a confidence-building win. Riverdale and PCA both have small rosters, and both were blown out in their openers. Riverdale lost 27-6 to Wilkinson County Christian. That was the Rebels’ 10th consecutive loss in a streak that dates to 2013.

It’s also the only time in the first four games that PCA will play a fellow Class AA school.

“Since the spring of last year, I think we’ve played two AAA teams, two AAAA teams and one 3A public school. We have yet to play a team that’s in our classification,” Lynch said, referring to PCA’s non-district schedule over the past two seasons. “We’re steadily playing up against other teams. I think that’ll help us in the long run, but it would’ve been nice to get to play somebody our own caliber to see where we are.”

More importantly, Lynch said, not playing the game will mean the loss of a precious home date and the money it brings in from ticket and concessions sales. PCA only plays four of its 10 games at home this season, including the Riverdale game. It will host Central Hinds next week.

“We’ve already lost a couple of home games this year because of all the rearranging. If we don’t get this game, we only have three home games all year. We want to play at home in front of our fans, and it’s just not working out,” Lynch said. “We’re losing a lot, losing home games like this. Our fans obviously want to come to home games and watch us play, and we lose a lot of monetary gain from it. We schedule 10 games for a reason. We want to play all 10 weeks and get ready for the playoffs. Losing a game there is not the end of the world, but it definitely is not what we wanted.”

Vicksburg Post reporter Alex Swatson contributed to this story.

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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