PCA tries to shake off loss as district rival Riverfield visits

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A long weekend didn’t erase the frustration of opening night for the Porter’s Chapel Academy Eagles.
A struggling offense, weather delays, missed calls by the officials and a sloppy field contributed to a 14-8 defeat at the hands of Columbus Christian that lingered in their minds for days.

“I’m still not over it,” PCA coach Blake Purvis admitted Monday morning, a few hours before his team returned to the practice field to begin a new week.

Purvis and the Eagles do need to let it go, however, and fast. Riverfield Academy comes to town this Friday night for a District 3-AAA contest that’s not only the next game, but one that will have plenty of ramifications for the rest of the season.

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“One or two losses in our district is going to put you out of it. Every week could be a factor,” Purvis said. “We’re fortunate to have a large district where you can make up some ground, but at the end of the day you have to win your district games. For us, that starts early.”

The opener showed that PCA has some work to do to get on the winning track. It had less than 100 yards of total offense against Columbus Christian and turned the ball over three times. Some of the mistakes were caused by wet conditions — the game was delayed three times because of thunderstorms — but some was also the Eagles’ own doing, Purvis said.

“Our blocking up front, we showed some flashes and had some lapses and errors. We’ve got to correct that. If we can’t fix our blocking, it’s going to be hard to find any success offensively,” Purvis said. “And then we’ve got to secure the football. We have to follow our blockers into the hole and stick our nose in there. Don’t run into a tackle.”

Despite all of their struggles, the Eagles still had a chance to grind out a win. They forced four turnovers, turned one into a short touchdown drive, and held the Rams to just 14 points. Both of Columbus’ touchdowns came on plays with apparent penalties that were not called, one an illegal formation and the other an illegal crackback block.

The missed calls in a close game were why the loss lingered so long, Purvis said, but he quickly added that it was time to move on.

“We’ve got to look at our mistakes, but we’ve got to get on the field and get them corrected,” he said. “We can’t harp on it, but we do have to pay attention to it and keep the mindset that we have to be better this week.”

Riverfield beat PCA 39-21 last season, when it went on to win 10 games and reach the second round of the MAIS Class AAA playoffs. If ever there was a cure for an ailing offense, however, the Raiders might be it.

Riverfield (0-1) allowed 322 passing yards, and 463 total yards, in a 48-25 loss to Bayou Academy last week. PCA had 294 passing yards in last year’s meeting.

Purvis was hopeful the Eagles could open up the passing game again, since Riverfield’s defensive strength is against the run.

“They’re very physical up front and good at what they do. They’re going to create pressure on the quarterback. You’ve got to get a hat on every one of their players in the box, because a lot of times they’re going to bring an extra one,” Purvis said. “They lost some guys, but the guys they have playing those positions now are as good as the ones they lost. Their defensive front is very physical, and they make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage.”

All games start at 7 p.m.

Pearl at Warren Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Vicksburg at Clinton (Radio: 107.7 FM/1490 AM)
Adams Christian at St. Aloysius (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Riverfield at Porter’s Chapel (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Bayou Academy at Central Hinds
Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at Calhoun Academy
Tensas Academy at Tallulah Academy
Rebul Academy at Briarfield
Port Gibson at Gentry

For live updates and full game coverage on Friday night, follow us at facebook.com/thevicksburgpost, twitter.com/vixpostsports, and vicksburgpost.com

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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