St. Al scorches Porter’s Chapel

Published 12:31 am Saturday, September 15, 2018

St. Aloysius started as hot as the blazing sun on Friday night. By the end of its game against Porter’s Chapel Academy, it had cooled slightly to a raging inferno.

St. Al scored on its first three offensive snaps, and quarterback Phillip Upshaw completed 9 of 10 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns as the Flashes blasted their crosstown rival 48-6.

“The guys played up to the expectations. I’ve been telling you every week that we’re getting better week-by-week. We’re starting to put the pieces together and we just need to get everybody healthy now,” St. Al coach Michael Fields said. “We knew those first four games were going to be tough. We hoped we could win at least one or two of them but we didn’t. The schedule is getting a little more toward our way. So the only thing we have to do now is play with confidence, play physical, and let our abilities take over. I think we’re on our way.”

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St. Al (1-4, 1-1 District 3-AAA) picked up its first win of the season with by far its most complete game. Its defense held PCA to 121 total yards and the special teams contributed two big plays — a 33-yard return of the opening kickoff by Preston McGowan and a 70-yard punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter by Ryan Theriot.

The offense, meanwhile, was only stopped once, on a three-and-out in the second quarter. That came after the Flashes had gone 3-for-3 on their first three plays.

Kieran Theriot, lined up at quarterback, broke a 57-yard run on the first play of the game. McGowan took a swing pass 52 yards to the end zone on their next snap, and Evan Fedell broke a reception off a crossing pattern 86 yards for the third touchdown with 2:56 to go in the first quarter.

“That gave us confidence. That let us know that this was our game. This was the game we were going to put up 50 points. It set the tone for the rest of the game,” Upshaw said.

PCA (1-4, 1-1) had a couple of chances to get back in the game in the first half. Spencer Azlin dropped a pass in the end zone after his defender had fallen down to end a 14-play drive when it was still 14-0.

After St. Al’s lone punt, Tyler Washington fumbled inside the St. Al 40. The Flashes answered with a 12-play, 81-yard drive capped by a 5-yard run by McGowan that made it 28-0 and effectively ended any doubt as to the game’s outcome.

The 28 points were a season-high for the Flashes. Their 48-point final was more than they had scored in the first four games combined.

“When you get drives going — and we did; I felt like we moved the football and had things that worked — we’d get down there and either we lose focus or just were not able to make that play that we need,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “We make some plays, but that one play we need to seal a drive is just not there. When you don’t, 14-7 turns into 21-0 and a one-possession game turns into a three. That’s so hard to overcome.”

McGowan added a 30-yard touchdown run just before halftime, and finished with 133 total yards — 56 rushing and 77 receiving. Upshaw also threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Trinye Brown in the third quarter. The second half was played with a running clock and St. Al only had two offensive snaps in the final two quarters.

PCA’s only points came on a 5-yard run by Wade Dickard midway through the third quarter. Carter White led the team in rushing with 16 carries for 28 yards. Tristan Pickering caught four passes for 50 yards, while quarterback Luke Yocum was sacked three times while completing 6 of 13 passes for 51 yards.

“I thought we had a great week of practice. We took a little difference approach this week. I thought the guys responded well. The guys had great attitudes at practice. I really felt like we had a good week of practice,” Purvis said. “I’m shocked that our execution was bad. We just didn’t do it tonight.”

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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