Porter’s Chapel opens football season Friday at River Oaks

Published 3:47 pm Thursday, August 10, 2023

The way Blake Purvis sees it, his Porter’s Chapel Academy football team would be playing this week anyway. And they were planning to play more than the 10 games most of their MAIS brethren will.

So why not start a little early?

The Eagles begin the 2023 season Friday night in Monroe, Louisiana, when they go on the road to play River Oaks. While most MAIS teams play in preseason jamborees, the Eagles and Mustangs will play in one of a dozen Week Zero openers across the association.

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“We’re always trying to treat the jamboree like Week 1. Nothing’s changed as far as preparation. Instead of playing a two-quarter jamboree, we’re going to a play a four-quarter game,” said Purvis, who is entering his eighth season as PCA’s head coach. “I’m trying to use it as a positive that we’re getting an extra game, and we’re going to be better conditioned early in the season. We’re planning on playing 11, 12, 13 games anyway. We stay healthy and we might look up after Week 11 and have a bye as a district champ.”

One of the real challenges of starting early, particularly this time, is a lack of knowledge about the opponent.
River Oaks was a longtime member of the MAIS, but briefly moved to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and then back to the MAIS. The return to the MAIS included a switch from 11- to 8-man football. As a result, Purvis said, it’s hard to know exactly what River Oaks is bringing to the field on Friday.

“They’re new to 8-man. They played one scrimmage and we can’t prepare like we normally do,” Purvis said. “We have to control what we can control.”

That last thought is something most high school teams focus on the first few weeks of the season as they discover what works and doesn’t, and depth charts sort themselves out.

PCA might be ahead of others on that front since there isn’t much room to move up or down the depth chart. It only has 13 playerson the roster in grades 10-12. Eight junior high players will provide extra depth but are limited on how much they can play each week.

The focus instead, Purvis said, will be on fine-tuning schemes. Based on the first look at the Eagles, they might be a step ahead there as well.

PCA played the Mississippi Phoenix Sports Academy in a controlled scrimmage last week and scored five touchdowns on 20 offensive snaps. John Wyatt Massey and Ty Mack each ran for two touchdowns and Jase Jung scored one. The defense gave up one touchdown.

“We did well. We still made some early-season mistakes we’re trying to polish up,” Purvis said. “But I thought the defense was flying to the ball well and our blocking was decent. All the guys that touched the ball made plays and were dynamic. We performed as expected.”

MAIS Week Zero Games
All games at 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 10
Parklane Academy at Madison-Ridgeland Academy
Friday, Aug. 11
Porter’s Chapel at River Oaks
Tensas Academy at Tallulah Academy
Franklin Academy at Briarfield
Riverdale at Hillcrest Christian
Newton Academy at Sylva-Bay
Winona Christian at Benton Academy
Greenville-St. Joe at Washington School
Bowling Green at Adams County Christian School
Bayou Academy at Jackson Academy
Hartfield Academy at Heritage Academy
Lamar Academy at Starkville Academy

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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