Snapping losing skid makes PCA happy

Published 8:52 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A football team filled with energy and clad in pink gear, jumped and cheered throughout their homecoming and senior night with the belief they were going to get their first win in two years.

After a tough-fought, injury-ridden season, Porters Chapel Academy did it. It got its first victory of the year Friday night, 21-7 over Benton Academy, nearly two years to the day after their last win.

PCA had a forfeit over Riverdale last season, but the last time it won on the field was Oct. 24, 2014 against Park Place Christian.

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“We were focused every week. We wanted to win every week. But this game was different. It was something in the atmosphere,” senior wide receiver Garrett Hutchins said. “We knew that it was our night to do it. We had the most people here and everybody was excited.”

PCA coach Blake Purvis said the biggest play of the game was an interception by defensive lineman Andrew Screws late in the third quarter. Screws said coming out after halftime with the score tied at 7 pushed the players to do everything they could to obtain the victory.

“I feel like it really set the mood for the game,” Screws said of his interception. “I was coming to make the sack, and I just saw him make a little dump pass at the end.”

Senior Garrett Hutchins was proud of the play his teammate made and the extra momentum it gave the Eagles.

“It’s not every day a defensive tackle comes up and makes an interception. It really showed that crazy things can happen when everybody does their job, and when you play all the way to the whistle, anything can happen,” Hutchins said.

That interception started a drive that led to a fourth quarter touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Jake Arias to Hutchins. The pair had tried the play earlier in the game but was unsuccessful when Arias was rushed. On third down deep in Raider territory, the coaches decided to give it another shot.

“It was the best pass I could have asked for,” Hutchins said of his touchdown reception, the final one of the night, which brought the score to 21-7.

Screws said the victory had more to do with the team’s attitude and will to win than anything else.

“Everybody talked about it in the locker room, about what we had to come out and accomplish. We came out and did what we had to do,” he said.

Hutchins said that attitude, along with a team mentality, pushed the Eagles forward.

“It was definitely felt that, ‘you watch my back, I’m going to watch yours,’ and we all had each other’s back,” he said.

Purvis is looking to build off the victory and hopes his players understand their full capability now that they have a win under their belt. The Eagles snapped a 16-game losing streak going back to the Week 2 forfeit against Riverdale last year.

“We’ve just got to build off of it,” he said. “They understand now, hopefully, if they come out and execute and they get after it that good things can happen. Getting guys back from injury and being as healthy as we’ve been all year was a big step in that. They can build off that and know that when we’re healthy and we’re at full strength, we can stand toe to toe with anybody.”

The Eagles (1-8, 0-2 District 5-AA) will now try to create a winning streak when they go on the road this Friday to play Amite School Center (3-6, 0-2) in the season finale. No matter the outcome there, getting a win is something to build on.

“If you perform your job, as coach has harped on, everybody else is going to do their job,” Hutchins said. “Going into next week, I feel like this win not only made us stronger, but showed us: you do your job, we’re going to have each other’s back because that’s what teammates do.”