Eagles go down fighting in finale against Park Place

Published 1:38 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

Porter’s Chapel Academy’s season finale was everything it could have hoped for — except a victory.
Conner Stewart scored on a 2-yard run with 45 seconds left Friday night to give Park Place Christian a 21-14 win that ended a decidedly down season for the Eagles.

PCA finished with a 1-9 record (1-4 in District 3-AAA) that included seven losses by 27 points or more. It played hard and had a chance to win its finale, however, until Park Place (4-6, 2-3) drove 80 yards in the final 2 ½ minutes for the game-winning touchdown.

“It’s tough to lose a game with 45 seconds left,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “But I could not be more proud of what we showed tonight. We finally played a complete football game against a good football team. We minimized our turnovers and gave ourselves a chance to be in the game. The effort was phenomenal.”

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The victory saved Park Place’s season. It sneaked into the MAIS Class AAA playoffs as the No. 16 seed and will go on the road next week to play Indianola Academy in the first round.

PCA quarterback Luke Yocum was 10-of-14 passing for 157 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Spencer Azlin caught a 35-yard touchdown pass on the game’s opening drive and finished with four receptions for 64 yards. Michael Tod Andrews caught four passes for 51 yards.

Defensively, McKinley Skipper led the Eagles with 12 tackles, including three sacks and four tackles for loss. Nick Powell had eight tackles and Tyler Washington had seven.

Washington also rushed for 61 yards, more than half of it on a 35-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead. Other than its one win over 0-10 Hillcrest Christian, it’s the only time this season that PCA has led a game in the fourth quarter.

It didn’t last.

Park Place converted two third downs, one on a 60-yard catch and run, to move the ball into the red zone. After converting the second third down to push it to the 2-yard line, the senior Stewart scored on a jet sweep. A two-point conversion made it 21-14 and PCA was unable to score the equalizer in the final minute.

Despite the loss, Purvis said he was proud of his team for finishing a dismal season with a solid effort.

“I’m proud of them. That was what I’ve been looking for and trying to get out of these guys all year. They could have hung it up three or four weeks ago and they mustered up some passion tonight,” Purvis said. “We have nothing to be ashamed of about what we did tonight.”