Early start, 8-Man games, long trips highlight PCA’s 2019 football schedule

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2019

No matter how it turns out, the 2019 football season should offer enough variety ­— and oddities — for Porter’s Chapel Academy that it won’t ever be boring.

The Eagles will start the season a week early, play at least one 8-man game, and take four long road trips to Louisiana — one of them to play the New Orleans Saints — according to the schedule released by the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.

“There’s going to be some abnormalities to it, for sure, and we’re going to work through it the best we can,” Porter’s Chapel head coach Blake Purvis said. “It’ll be an odd couple of years.”

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PCA will open the season with a home game against Benton Academy on Aug. 16, a week before the rest of the MAIS plays its opener. The early date was made necessary because of an odd number of teams in the MAIS that created a quirk across the association’s entire schedule, Purvis said.

By agreeing to play a week early, it allowed the MAIS office to align the rest of the schedule. As compensation, PCA will get to start preseason practice on July 29, three days before other teams, and get an open date in Week 5 (Sept. 20). It will not, however, get to play in the preseason jamborees that will be held on Aug. 16 and 17.

“I do like the bye week, but not giving up that 10th game. This way I get the 10th game and a bye week. It’s the best of both worlds,” Purvis said. “I don’t think losing the jamboree will hurt us. It’s good in some senses. It depends on what end of the stick you get. You can get a one-sided jamboree. Last year we played Clinton Christian for one quarter and ran the ball, and they only got to run a few plays before it was over.”

The middle part of the schedule is where things take a turn for the bizarre. After hosting Newton Academy in Week 2, the Eagles will go on the road to play the New Orleans Saints — a home school team from the Big Easy that shares the nickname of the city’s NFL team — on Aug. 30

“We’re telling people it’s the New Orleans Saints,” Purvis said with a grin. “They play several MAIS schools and we saw them on the schedule. We called and tried to get on their schedule and were able to set it up.”

The next two games are both against 8-man teams, at Claiborne Academy on Sept. 6 and home vs. Deer Creek on Sept. 13. Both games will be played under 8-man rules, but will not count for either team in the power points standings that determine playoff seeding and wild card berths.

Purvis said the games were scheduled because of another scheduling discrepancy.
There were not a lot of matchup options outside of the new Class 3A — the smallest 11-man division in the 2019-20 MAIS realignment, which contains only 15 teams — that would provide a competitive and worthwhile matchup for either team. So, Purvis said, the MAIS scheduled some crossover games between 8- and 11-man teams in Class 2A and Class 3A. Class 2A is an 8-man classification.

“It was a result of our numbers and trying to find schools of similar size to play. Most schools our size are dropping to 8-man,” Purvis said.

Purvis said the Deer Creek game might be played under 11-man rules since Deer Creek is entering its first year of 8-Man football. PCA’s junior high team plays 8-man football, however, so Purvis did not anticipate making a lot of scheme adjustments for one or two games.

“With us doing it in junior high, we do have a little bit of an idea what to expect,” Purvis said. “We’ll have to change things up and coach a little differently those weeks. Other than that, we’ll prepare like any other game.”

The Eagles have their bye week on Sept. 20, and then the schedule gets a lot more normal, if not easier. A game with Centreville Academy and consecutive road trips to Ben’s Ford, Greenville Christian and Glenbrook follow the bye.

Greenville Christian is also the first of three consecutive District 4-3A games to end the season. The district swing continues at Glenbrook and wraps up with a home game against Greenville-St. Joseph.

Greenville-St. Joe beat Centreville Academy in the Class AA championship game last season.

All games start at 7 p.m.
Aug. 16……..Benton Academy
Aug. 23……..Newton Academy
Aug. 30……..at New Orleans Saints
Sept. 6……..at Claiborne Academy
Sept. 13…….Deer Creek
Sept. 20…….Open date
Sept. 27…….Centreville Academy
Oct. 4………at Ben’s Ford
Oct. 11……..*at Greenville Christian
Oct. 18……..*at Glenbrook
Oct. 25……..*Greenville-St. Joseph
*District 4-3A games

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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