Four Down Territory: PCA ends a streak, Warren County DBs shine, Lutz misses a FG and history

Published 8:05 am Monday, October 3, 2022

You’re in Four Down Territory, where each week we’ll look at four notes, stats and trends from the weekend that was in Mississippi high school football, college football and the NFL.

By any measure, Porter’s Chapel Academy has turned things around from its darkest times in the mid-2010s.

The Eagles are on the cusp of a second consecutive winning season and have virtually locked up a playoff berth. In three weeks, they’ll play Tallulah Academy in a winner-take-all showdown for the MAIS District 3-2A championship.

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Even with all of that, Friday’s 50-42 victory against Prairie View Academy marked another turning point for the program. It was PCA’s first district win since Week 3 of the 2018 season and just the fourth in the last 10 years.

“It’s good to break the streak, but it’s not like we haven’t won a game in four years,” said PCA coach Blake Purvis, whose team is now 14-13 over the last three seasons and 4-2 this year.

PCA’s 12-game district losing streak came against some of the MAIS’ toughest heavyweights. Greenville Christian and Greenville-St-Joseph were district opponents in 2019 and 2020. The 2021 schedule included Class 2A champion Prairie View and semifinalist Claiborne Academy, as well as an always-strong Tallulah Academy.

“You look at our district we’ve been in the last four years. The state champion in our division has come from our district the last four years, and a lot of the other teams have been deep in the playoffs,” Purvis said.

PCA is looking like a team with a chance to join that list. It can earn a top-three seed and a first-round bye in the Class 2A playoffs, as well as its first district title since 2008, by beating Tallulah Academy on Oct. 21.

A couple of Warren County alumni turned defense into offense for their junior college teams on Thursday.

Laurence Sullivan, a former Vicksburg High standout, had a 58-yard interception return touchdown for East Mississippi Community College. He also had seven total tackles, but it wasn’t enough as the eighth-ranked Lions lost 38-21 to Northwest Mississippi.

Meanwhile, in Decatur, Warren Central alum Jaylin Thompson scored on a 56-yard pick-six for East Central Community College in a 24-20 loss to Southwest Mississippi.

It was one of two interceptions for Thompson. The other set up a field goal by fellow WC product Brandon Gilliam.

Thompson added six total tackles, one tackle for loss and two pass breakups to his two interceptions.

No. 14 Ole Miss and No. 7 Kentucky played their first game against each other as ranked teams since 1958. It was one of several things about the game that hadn’t been done in a long time:

• Ole Miss beat Kentucky 22-19 for its 13th consecutive home win. That’s the longest home winning streak for the Rebels since they won 21 in a row between 1952 and 1959. Ole Miss’ last home loss was a 35-28 setback vs. Auburn on Oct. 24, 2020.

• Quinshon Jenkins finished with 106 rushing yards to give the Rebels a 100-yard rusher for the fifth game in a row. It’s the first time since at least 1976 that they have had a 100-yard rusher in each of the first five games of the season, and the first time since 1999 that they’ve had five straight 100-yard rushers at any point in the season.

• The announced crowd of 64,828 was the sixth-largest in the history of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, and largest since 2016. The stadium record is 66,176 for a game against Alabama in 2016.

New Orleans Saints kicker Will Lutz kicked a 60-yard field goal in Sunday’s 28-25 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in London. He also missed a chance at history when his game-winning 61-yard attempt hit the upright and crossbar before bouncing out as time expired.

Only five other kickers have more than one 60-yard field goal in their careers. None have done it in the same game, so Lutz would have become the first if his double-doinked kick had fallen on the right side of the crossbar.

“I thought they were both in,” Lutz said. “I hit them both on the screws. I’m still kind of in shock the second one didn’t go in.”

Lutz’s 60-yarder with 1:55 remaining in the game did tie one NFL record. He became the third Saints kicker with a 60-yard field goal, tying the franchise with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos as the only three with that distinction.

Tom Dempsey set a then-NFL record with a 63-yard field goal for the Saints in 1970, and Morten Andersen had a 60-yard field goal in 1991.

The Cardinals have had a 62-yard field goal by Matt Prater in 2021; a 61-yarder by Jay Feely in 2012; and a 60-yarder by Chandler Catanzaro in 2016.

The Broncos have had a 64-yard field goal by Prater in 2021 — he is the only kicker to do it with two different teams — a 63-yarder by Jason Elam in 1998, and a 61-yarder by Brandon McManus in 2021.

The Dallas Cowboys have had three 60-plus yard field goals in their history, but all three were by the same kicker — Brett Maher, who did it in 2018 and twice in 2019. Maher is the only player in NFL history to achieve that feat.

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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