Eagles reset after loss to rival St. Al

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The sun came up on Monday, birds were singing, and Porter’s Chapel Academy’s football team prepared for the first day of the rest of its season.

The Eagles went back to work following Friday’s disappointing 39-25 loss to St. Aloysius, with bruised egos and a crucial week ahead of them. PCA will likely need to win the rest of its games to secure a spot in the MAIS Class AAA playoffs, and how they respond in the coming days will go a long way toward determining if it can pull it off or not.

PCA (2-3, 1-2 District 3-AAA) goes on the road this Friday to play Union Christian in Farmerville, La.

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“We’ve got to bounce back. This is going to be a very different week of practice. There’s not a whole lot of history with our opponent, so that’s an unknown. Then coming off an emotional week, we have to find a way to have some energy in practice and not fall apart,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “This is a very crucial week as far as our hunt for a wild card berth. We have a lot to play for and a good stretch coming up. We can’t let our energy die because we passed our big game.”

The St. Al game was one PCA had circled on its calendar as soon as the schedule was released last winter, and it largely turned into a letdown for the large home crowd. PCA committed four turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and trailed 39-12 at halftime.

St. Al scored three touchdowns in the last three minutes of the first half to turn what had been a tight back-and-forth contest into a blowout.

“I think it was a worst-case scenario to fall behind by that much,” Purvis said. “We’ve got to cut out the mistakes. We play really well for a string of eight or 10 plays, and then we have a couple of bad plays that gave our opponent life in the three games we’ve lost.”

If there was a silver lining for the Eagles, it came from what they did after falling behind. The defense didn’t allow a point in the second half, forced two three-and-outs on four possessions, and only let St. Al have one snap — from the 49-yard line — inside PCA territory. It also recovered a fumble that led to a scoring drive.

The offense, meanwhile, scored twice in the fourth quarter and finished with 175 rushing yards. Kicker Jagger Weekly perfectly placed two onside kick attempts as well. PCA recovered one and had a shot at the other.

Although the Eagles were too far behind for the comeback to do more than make the score a bit more respectable, the overall effort in the second half re-energized the crowd and the team and gave Purvis a lot of optimism coming off of what could have been an emotionally devastating loss.

“Hopefully we can pedal off of the second half,” Purvis said. “I will go into battle with a group that doesn’t quit any day. We showed the same thing against Riverfield in Week 2, being down three touchdowns and coming back to score 21 points. Showing that fight will hopefully benefit us in some close games later this year.”

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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