Homecoming foe on the same level as Porters Chapel

Published 8:57 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

Most of the time, Porters Chapel Academy has been the homecoming opponent this season. The Eagles are 0-8 and riding a 16-game losing streak that dates back to early in the 2015 season.

For its own homecoming on Friday night, however, PCA managed to find someone on its level.

Benton Academy (1-7) has only won once this season, against one-win Central Holmes. It has been shut out three times and scored six points in two other games. The matchup with PCA might not be the best in the state this week, but it’s perfect for two teams seeking some measure of success late in a lost season.

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“Definitely, you want to try to get a win or two in the last two weeks and get some momentum going into the offseason,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “We’re a young team, and anything we can do successfully should give us momentum. We’re still looking for those small victories.”

PCA has been shut out four times this season. It has scored a total of 34 points, and not more than 14 in any game. It has moved the ball well at times, but usually short circuits close to the goal line.

In that, Purvis said, his team and Benton have a lot in common.

“They’ve moved the ball against everybody,” Purvis said. “They move the ball, and then they have a penalty or a bad snap, or something that puts them behind the chains. They run it well and throw it decent.”

PCA finally had some success in the passing game last week against Wilkinson Christian. Jake Arias was 12-of-20 for 89 yards and a touchdown to Garrett Hutchins — PCA’s first passing touchdown of the season. Those are modest numbers by any measure, but the yardage total accounted for about a third of PCA’s season total. That, Purvis said, showed some positive progress.

“Getting some success in the passing game last week, hopefully we can carry that forward and score some points and help the defense out,” Purvis said. “We found something that let us move the ball. Jake is getting more comfortable in the position.”

With a fellow cellar dweller coming into town, the Eagles have a legitimate chance to snap their losing streak. They might even have a chance to start a winning streak. They go on the road next week to face Amite School Center (3-5), which has also struggled this year, in the season finale.

For now, though, Purvis said the focus is squarely on Benton. There’s no reason to look ahead, Purvis noted, when Benton is also looking at this game as a chance to earn a rare victory.

“We’re taking it one game at a time, and definitely not looking ahead. We’ve got plenty of distractions with homecoming this week, and we’re not in a position to look past this one,” Purvis said. “If we do have some success this week, we do have a chance to finish the season strong.”

All games start at 7 p.m.
Warren Central at Murrah (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Central Hinds at St. Aloysius (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Benton Academy at PCA (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Vicksburg at Ridgeland (Radio: 1490 AM)
Humphreys Academy at Sharkey-Issaquena
Tallulah Academy at Park Place Christian
Delta Streets at Rebul Academy
Port Gibson at Franklin County
Online: For live scoring updates on Friday night, visit twitter.com/vixpostsports or facebook.com/thevicksburgpost

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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