Porters Chapel faces unbeaten Prentiss Friday

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homecoming opponents are supposed to be relatively weak. They’re supposed to be easy pickings for the home team, a cruise control win that sends the fans home happy and the students off to dance away a joyous night.

Someone at Porters Chapel Academy apparently missed that memo.

The struggling Eagles (1-5) will face one of the best teams in Class AA, Prentiss Christian (6-0) for homecoming on Friday night. Prentiss is the only undefeated team in Class AA and has won all of its games by at least two touchdowns.

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It’s a difficult assignment, to say the least, for a PCA team that hasn’t scored more than 14 points in a game this season.

“We’re definitely on two different ends of the spectrum. We’re struggling and they seem to be finding their stride,” PCA coach Wayne Lynch said. “Everybody has their day, and everybody has a bad day. A play here or there can turn the tide. We just want to make sure we compete. If we’re getting to the football and making the plays we should make, that’s our focus right now.”

This wasn’t supposed to be PCA’s homecoming game. In fact, Prentiss Christian wasn’t even on its schedule until August.

When Catholic schools St. Aloysius, Greenville-St. Joseph and Cathedral moved from the MHSAA to the MAIS, a number of teams had their schedules redrawn to accommodate the newcomers, PCA included.

A potentially easier game against Hartfield Academy (2-4) was removed from the schedule and Prentiss Christian added. Because PCA only had four home games on its new schedule, Prentiss being the third, the date of the game also forced the school to make this its homecoming.

“Everything got out of whack when those other schools joined the MAIS,” Lynch said.

PCA seemed to gain some traction in a 21-7 loss last week against previously winless Clinton Christian. Two touchdowns were negated by penalties and the team ran for a season-high 218 yards.

The rushing total was divided amongst several players, which was another positive sign. Leon Simms led the way with 95 yards, Patrick Minor had 80 and Michael Brewer had 40 yards and a touchdown on only six carries.

“Leon and Patrick ran the ball well. They all had their touches,” Lynch said. “As long as we’re putting a hat on a hat and finding lanes, we’ll be able to run the ball.”

Minor will be needed at quarterback this week. Garrett Hutchins, who took over as the starter four weeks ago, suffered a concussion and a neck stinger against Clinton Christian. Lynch said he’ll be out for three weeks.

The loss of Hutchins was another in a string of body blows for the Eagles. Already a young, undersized team, they’ll also be without junior lineman Shelton Miller (knee) for the rest of the season.

“It’s not a matter of our effort. The effort and heart is definitely there. Right now it’s a matter of size and strength,” Lynch said. “When you’re younger, you’re not physically capable of holding up for four quarters. They’re learning from their mistakes. We’ve never stopped fighting, we’ve never quit. There’s just only so much effort and coaching you can do.”

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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