Park Place dashes PCA’s playoff hopes

Published 12:38 am Saturday, October 21, 2017

On a night when Porter’s Chapel Academy needed to be at its absolute best, it was far, far from it.

The Eagles had a punt and a field goal blocked — the latter of which was returned for a touchdown — and fell behind by four scores at halftime against Park Place Christian.

Park Place went on to win 40-7, denying Porter’s Chapel both its first winning season in nine years and a berth in the MAIS Class AAA playoffs in a disappointing season finale at Eagles Field.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter if it’s one point or 40 points. I don’t like any of them. I thought we had some opportunities, even through three quarters, and we didn’t capitalize,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “Bottom line, we didn’t make some key plays when we needed to.”

PCA (5-5, 1-4 District 3-AAA) needed a win Friday night to assure itself of a wild card berth, but watched those hopes quickly unravel in the first half.

Park Place (6-4, 2-3) took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in eight plays, capped off by a 13-yard touchdown run by Brennan Bass.

Porter’s Chapel answered with a long drive of its own that stalled out at the Park Place 21-yard line. Kicker Jagger Weekly came on for a field goal try, but it was blocked. Conner Stewart picked it up and raced 65 yards to the end zone for a 14-0 Park Place lead.

PCA answered again, but had another long drive end on downs at the Park Place 14. The Crusaders went 86 yards the other way in 12 plays, finishing with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Landon Clark to Tyler Martins with 5:06 left in the second quarter.

They added one more score, on a 1-yard run by Adam Roberson following an interception by Stewart, to take a 27-0 lead into halftime.

“I thought we had one of our better starts offensively. Even after we gave up the touchdown, we moved the ball right back down the field,” Purvis said. “Then back-to-back drives, after driving 60 or 70 yards, we’d just stall out. Those are two crucial misses, and from there we’re behind the 8-ball and just couldn’t get it rolling after that.”

Porter’s Chapel finally broke the ice midway through the third quarter when Glenn Alan Kittrell punched in a 1-yard touchdown run with 6:45 remaining. The Eagles even recovered a fumble on Park Place’s next drive to inspire hopes of a huge comeback, but couldn’t capitalize.

They were forced to punt in the waning seconds of the third quarter and had it blocked. The Crusaders took advantage of a short field to drive down for another touchdown, a 2-yard run by Clark, that made it 34-7 and effectively iced the game.

Bass added one more touchdown at the midway point of the fourth quarter and finished with 73 rushing yards on 11 carries. Clark had 13 carries for 121 yards and a score, and Park Place had 235 rushing yards as a team.

“We planned all week to stop the counter that they run. They want to get you on the speed sweeps and cut it back under you, and they did exactly that. We couldn’t stop them on defense,” Kittrell said.

Kittrell led PCA with 83 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Carter White had 49 yards on 14 carries, including two for minus-16 yards on the Eagles’ final drive that hurt his final total.

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.

email author More by Ernest