Eagles try to find offensive groove against Hillcrest

Published 9:02 am Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Porters Chapel Eagles have had a solid defense throughout the first three weeks of the football season, but the team is working to solidify its offense to get points on the board and victories in the results column as they head into Friday’s home game against Hillcrest Christian.

PCA was shut out in its first two games and scored six points in a loss to Central Hinds last week.

“We’re still trying to find our stride offensively. We’re getting more comfortable in our offensive system. We’ve still got some improvements to make,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said.

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Learning and expanding passing schemes has been a priority during practice this week.

“We’re still working on our passing game, trying to develop our quick routes and getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands quick to alleviate some of the blitz pressure,” Purvis said.

The offense has struggled, but defense has been a strength for the Eagles.

In the first two games of the season they held their opponents scoreless until the second half. They got off to a bad start with Central Hinds, though, by allowing 28 points in the first quarter. Most of those were the result of turnovers by the offense.

Purvis couldn’t put his finger on exactly what it was that threw his team off, but said it “snowballed” after the first turnover, causing things to go from bad to worse. The Eagles were down 35-0 at the half.

However, the team did bounce back and held things together. The defense only allowed Central Hinds 14 more points the rest of the game, and the offense didn’t commit a turnover after the first quarter.

“They never laid down and quit. It would have been easy at 28-0 in the first four minutes of the game to just hang it up, but to play the next 44 minutes really in a 14-6 game, they settled in. They kept fighting. They kept battling,” Purvis said. “We made adjustments, and they picked those up. We really played a pretty good game the rest of the way.”

The one thing he was looking for from his defense during this game was its response to the Central Hinds offense, the best one the team has seen this year.

“When we don’t put them in bad positions, and short fields, they respond. They get stops. They force punts,” he said, adding the defense has only given up 35 points in three games.

Another major positive takeaway was scoring in the fourth quarter. Purvis said getting points on the board last week gave the team some needed confidence and momentum.

The Eagles have had to deal with depth issues, especially against the bigger schools they have been playing, but Purvis said the team has a decent roster size even with 12 freshmen. Three of PCA’s first four opponents have been Class AAA or AAAA schools. Hillcrest Christian is Class AAAA, and PCA is Class AA.

“We’re able to play 16 or 18 guys and they can play 25 or 26, that wears on us,” Purvis said, but he is working to close that gap. “Our conditioning has improved.”

He pointed out that depth was not an issue this past weekend when the team held tough toward the end of the game and even scored for the first time this season.

“I don’t know that depth was really a factor there,” Purvis said. “We finished much stronger than we started against a team with more depth than us.”

This week the Eagles will play Hillcrest Christian of Jackson, and Purvis is preparing for one player in particular — quarterback Mayowa Asagunla, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound senior who is in his third year as a starter.

Purvis said Asagunla runs well, can run the read option, extends plays when he has to, keeps his eyes downfield, puts the ball where it has to be, can pick apart the zone coverage, can stand in the pocket and anticipates windows very well.

“They’ve got definitely thus far the best quarterback we’ve seen,” Purvis said. “He is a true dual threat.”


All games start at 7 p.m.

Natchez at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)

Vicksburg at Yazoo City (Radio: 101.3 FM)

Hillcrest Christian at PCA (Radio: 104.5 FM)

Washington School at St. Aloysius (101.3 FM)

Unity Christian at Rebul Academy

Sharkey-Issaquena at Delta Streets

Tallulah Academy at Tensas Academy

Central Hinds at River Oaks

Port Gibson at Terry

Madison Parish at Montgomery

Online: For live scoring updates on Friday night, visit twitter.com/vixpostsports or