Gordon’s approach slows down Eagles’ preparation for Central Private

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

When he saw the forecast early this week, Porter’s Chapel Academy coach Blake Purvis let out a sigh. If it holds, his team would be able to get two practices in, and likely be limited or lose two others, as Tropical Storm Gordon swept across the state.

The weather is expected to clear before Friday night’s road game at Central Private, but the lost practice time was something the Eagles can ill afford.

“The opponent is definitely one we need all the practice we can get,” Purvis said. “They do a lot of read options and a lot of misdirection. They mix their formations up while running the same base stuff. It could be five to seven plays that they run, but then you mix the formations and add the read option elements and it’s so much you have to defend. We definitely don’t need to lose any practice time this week.”

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Besides getting ready for a tricky and talented opponent — Central Private enters with a 2-1 record — PCA (1-2) is trying to build on the momentum gained from its dominating 36-0 rout of Hillcrest Christian last week.

The Eagles ran the ball 62 times for 362 yards, with seven players getting at least one carry and three of them finishing with 60 yards or more.

The best of the bunch was senior Carter White. He suffered an abdominal injury during an offseason workout in July and had had only limited practice time since then. The team’s leading rusher from 2017 finished with 144 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

“We wanted to ease him in. He was getting a couple of carries early and we were rotating a lot. Then Wade Dickard got a little banged up and Carter was doing well, so we went with him,” Purvis said. “To see him in midseason form with no game reps since last season was a welcome addition.”

The tandem of Dickard and freshman Tyler Washington has been, as well. Dickard had 79 yards and Washington 64 against Hillcrest, and each one scored a touchdown. They helped power the running game in White’s absence — PCA had nearly 200 yards the previous week against Riverfield — and will now team with him to form a formidable ground attack.

“One point of emphasis was to develop some depth at the lead blocking position. It’s great to have two or three guys that can run with the ball, but if only one of them can block they’re going to wear out fast,” Purvis said. “If we can have six running backs, that’s going to be very beneficial to us and enable us to create some fresh looks for the defense. Plus, when you can lean on your offensive line and the running backs and keep the ball on the ground, you reduce the risk for bad things to happen and have a chance to win any game you’re in.”

Perhaps most importantly, a strong running game will give the Eagles an identity. The defense has done well in forcing turnovers, and Purvis had just as much praise for his blockers — the receivers and tight ends as well as the linemen — as the backs. Being able to grind the ball, the clock and wins could help the team shake off its 0-2 start and make a push toward its first winning season since 2008.

“Wins are always good. I thought the fashion in which we ran the ball was something to build on,” Purvis said. “It definitely gave our guys something to be confident in and build upon.”

All games start at 7 p.m.

Porter’s Chapel at Central Private (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Washington School at St. Aloysius (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Warren Central at Neville (La.) (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Port Gibson at Terry
Germantown at Clinton
Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at Marvell Academy
Briarfield Academy at Tallulah Academy
Central Hinds at Glenbrook
Madison Parish at Delhi Charter

For live updates and full coverage on Friday night, visit 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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