Winless Porters Chapel hosts 1-3 Trinity in district opener

Published 9:00 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

Trinity can’t stop anybody. Porters Chapel Academy has barely scored a point.

Something has to give this Friday when they play each other at PCA’s Eagles Field.

The Saints and Eagles will get together for a matchup of two struggling teams that isn’t sexy on paper, but does provide a ray of hope to both of them. As their District 5-AA opener, it’s a chance to salvage something from a rough season and get on a path to the playoffs.

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“We’re not out of the playoff picture,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “District play opens this week. We can win three games and be in the playoffs as a top-six seed. The whole season is ahead of us. If we can grab the district wins and some non-district wins, we’re in good shape. There’s definitely still plenty to play for, even with as rough as it’s been.”

Trinity has had it rough, losing three in a row after beating defending Class AAA champion Silliman in its opener. Porters Chapel has had it rougher.

The Eagles have been outscored 115-6 in their four losses. The defense has played well enough to keep them in games, but the offense has struggled to move the ball through the air or score. The passing game has been so anemic that the team’s leader in receptions, running back Wade Dickard, has seven catches for minus-3 yards.

Trinity has given up 52, 42 and 72 points in its last three games. That offers hope that the Eagles have finally found a defense they can get traction against.

“What little bit of strength we do have is their weakness,” Purvis said with a dose of gallows humor. “Even if our strength is their weakness, we still have to help ourselves out.”

To do that, Purvis is making yet another lineup tweak. Garrett Hutchins, a two-year starter at quarterback, is moving to wide receiver. Sophomore Jake Arias will replace him.

Purvis said Hutchins is one of the team’s best athletes and its best receiver. Moving him to the other end of the passing game is an attempt to take advantage of his athleticism and turn him into a playmaker that can give the struggling offense a jolt.

“He’s somebody with size and hands out there. Hopefully we can get it to him some where he can make a play,” Purvis said.

A number of other position changes are also afoot on the offensive side of the ball. Not all of them were planned, though.

Sophomore running back Carter White had 81 yards in last week’s loss to Hillcrest Christian, but also suffered a concussion. He will not play this week. Wade Dickard, who handled the bulk of the carries in the first three games, will slide back into the tailback role.

The offensive line is also banged up. Tackle McKinley Skipper is questionable for this week.

Since the start of preseason camp, PCA has had nine starters miss at least a game with injury. Seven of them are out for the season. The injuries and constant reshuffling of the lineup that they’ve caused have contributed to the team’s dismal offensive performance, Purvis said.

“It definitely is contributing to our offensive struggles. In addition to a new system,” Purvis said. “Having to move guys around, we’re back at week one in our system. It’s a contributing factor, but we’re not doing anything so complex on offense that we shouldn’t be able to do it.”

If there isn’t a reason to be encouraged on the field, however, Purvis said there has been one behind the scenes. He said the team has remained positive through its losing streak, and seems more determined to get it right than to give in to doubt and despair.

“The energy at practice and in the weight room is there. The focus in our film session (Monday) was the best it’s been all year,” Purvis said. “They want to get it right. We just have to carry that from the practice week to Friday night. We’re getting lost in the transition from Thursday to Friday, and that’s something we have to figure out.”


All games start at 7 p.m.

Trinity at Porters Chapel (Radio: 104.5 FM)

St. Al at Hartfield Academy (Radio: 101.3 FM)

Natchez at Vicksburg (Radio: 1490 AM)

Rebul Academy at Franklin Academy

Sharkey-Issaquena at Delta Streets

Humphreys Academy at Tallulah Academy

Wilkinson Christian at Central Hinds

McComb at Port Gibson

Opelousas at Madison ParishOnline: For live scoring updates on Friday, visit or

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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