Columbus Christian stuns PCA in opener

Published 11:55 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

With no scouting report and no game film to study, the Porter’s Chapel Academy Eagles didn’t have a very good idea of what they’d face in Friday’s season opener.

After it was over, they didn’t have a very good idea of what hit them, either.

Quarterback Drake Shaw threw a touchdown pass in the first half, and then ran for a 10-yard score with just over three minutes remaining as Columbus Christian stunned PCA 14-8.

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PCA had beaten Columbus Christian 48-0 in last year’s opener, but Eagles coach Blake Purvis said the difference between now and then was stunning.

“We didn’t have any idea of what we were facing. With no film and a new coach, we had no idea what the make up of their team was,” Purvis said. “It didn’t take us long to see it wasn’t the same team. They were bigger, faster and stronger, and played a more physical brand of football.”

The game was sloppy in terms of play — the teams combined for seven turnovers — and the conditions. There were three weather delays, and the teams took only a three-minute break at halftime rather than returning to the locker rooms yet again.

The wet conditions took the game into not only a turnover extravaganza, but a defensive slugfest as well. PCA managed less than 100 yards of total offense to go along with three lost fumbles, while Columbus Christian had four turnovers. PCA also had a long touchdown run negated by a penalty in the first quarter.

Pittman led PCA with 44 rushing yards. On defense, Mckinley Skipper had 14 tackles, including four for loss and two sacks, and two fumble recoveries. Jake Arias had nine tackles and a sack, Josh Hunt had eight tackles, and John Michael Wilkerson had an interception.

Shaw threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Will Teague in the first quarter to put Columbus Christian ahead 7-0. In the third quarter, a fumble set up PCA at the Columbus 1-yard line and led to Luke Yocum’s 1-yard quarterback sneak. Cole Pittman ran in the two-point conversion to give the Eagles an 8-7 lead.

Late in the fourth quarter, Columbus used a series of trick plays to move the ball down the field. Several reverses and a halfback pass got it to the 10-yard line, and Shaw ran it in from there for a 14-8 lead.

“It was just a sloppy field and we overpursued, and they strung a drive together,” Purvis said. “They trick-played us down the field.”

PCA was unable to string its own game-winning drive together and left its home field with a stunning loss. It’ll have to regroup quickly, with the District 3-AAA opener next Friday night at home against Riverfield Academy.

“It was a quirky situation. Delayed at the start, delayed in the second quarter, playing through halftime,” Purvis said. “But Columbus had to play in those conditions, too. There’s nothing to complain about with the weather conditions, because the other team went through the same thing.”

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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