Eagles healthy, for once, heading into Wilkinson

Published 8:57 am Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Porters Chapel Academy football team came home last Friday night after their 51-0 loss on the road at Prentiss Christian with two big positives.

First, young players got the opportunity for more playing time and experience on the field, but second, and most importantly, no one sustained any injuries during the game — a first in six weeks since the season opener against St. Andrews.

“We came out of last week’s game, the second time all year that we didn’t lose anybody for the following week,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “We came out healthier than we have any of our prior weeks. Hopefully some guys who missed last week will get released.”

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All season the Eagles’ lineup has been in a constant shuffle because of injuries. At one point, 11 players were on the sideline hurt. After getting a few players back, the team would unfailingly lose more week after week. Since they did not lose anyone last week and a few previously injured players have been reinstated, Purvis is optimistic.

“Maybe we’re, at least for a week, on an uphill climb,” Purvis said. “We’re improving on our injury report somewhat.”

The bright side to the injuries is that it has forced the Eagles to get younger players into the game, whether they wanted to or not.

While last week was a learning experience for so many eighth-, ninth-, and 10th-graders who were in the game as injury replacements, Purvis attributes the experience more to the amount of playing time they had and not the opponent or the fact that it was a road game. It’s something he sees the team using to grow and build.

Purvis wants the Eagles to have more than experience to create a decent foundation, and he thinks they can do that with a major momentum swing during a game.

“At some point we’ve got to have a guy that just steps up and makes a play that gives us a little momentum on offense. We haven’t had that in seven games now,” Purvis said.

The Eagles (0-7, 0-1 District 5-AA) head back into district play this week, on the road against Wilkinson County Christian — last year’s Class AA champion.

Purvis said the Rams (5-1, 0-0) have a strong offense and can run the ball well, especially quarterback Caleb Poole. WCCA averages 32 points per game.

“He is the best player, I think, on their team offensively. They use him a lot of different ways. They’ve got about three other running backs in addition to him that they mix it up and spread their carries around and keep guys fresh,” Purvis said.

PCA’s goal is to stop the run, which could play into its defensive strength. Even though the Eagles’ defense has proven to be strong this year, Purvis is still working to improve the offense and special teams that have given up nearly as many points as the defense through kick returns and touchdowns scored off of turnovers. Prentiss Christian had two interception return touchdowns last week.

“We’ve got to figure out how to get the other two phases of the game up to where our defense is in order to have a chance to win,” Purvis said. “We’ve got to gear up to be able to stop the run and hopefully get some guys healthy to help our depth. Offensively we’ve just got to execute better.”

All games start at 7 p.m.

Madison Central at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)

Vicksburg at Lanier (at Forest Hill High School; Radio: 1490 AM)

Porters Chapel at Wilkinson Christian (Radio: 104.5 FM)

Manchester at St. Al (Radio: 101.3 FM)


For live scoring updates on Friday night, visit twitter.com/vixpostsports or facebook.com/thevicksburgpost