Porter’s Chapel tries to inch closer to district title against Hillcrest

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, September 28, 2023

For the past two months, Porter’s Chapel Academy’s football season has been a bit like building a house.

The foundation has been laid with a red-hot 7-0 start. The capstone of a playoff run is approaching, but not here yet. So right now, the Eagles are stacking bricks by piling up wins.

Of course, in any structure there are pieces that carry a bit more of the load than others and that’s the case for the Eagles this Friday night when they go on the road to South Jackson to play Hillcrest Christian (1-6, 0-1 MAIS District 2-3A).

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It’s a game PCA not only should win, but must win to keep its district championship hopes intact.

“For us, with four games to go, we’ve got two district games. So it could all be for nil if we don’t take care of business in those two,” PCA head coach Blake Purvis said. “We need to set ourselves up to control our playoff spot going into Week 10.”

The playoff spot the Eagles are trying to get is one of the top four seeds in the MAIS Class 2A bracket. Those go to the district champions and come with a first-round bye and a home game in the second round.

So even though Friday’s game appears to be a mismatch on paper, Purvis said his players know it’s a game they need to take seriously and take care of business in.

“I think they understand the importance of it. That first-round bye is huge,” Purvis said. “It’s starting to clear up in the playoff picture. We could wind up being anywhere from a four, to if we lose to Prairie View (on Oct. 20) we’re probably looking at an eight-seed sitting at 10-1. It’s a huge, huge deal for us to go on and get that first-round bye and at least one game at home.”

To this point, PCA has not overlooked anyone. It is 7-0 for the first time since 2008, when it won its first 13 games and reached the Class 1A semifinals, thanks to a lethal combination of explosive offense and smothering defense.

After giving up 38 points in the season opener to River Oaks, the Eagles have allowed a total of 44 in their last six games. On offense, they’ve scored 44 points or more in five of their seven games.

Quarterback John Wyatt Massey has already thrown 21 touchdown passes, and running back Jase Jung has rushed for 919 yards and 15 TDs. Thomas Azlin has 11 touchdown receptions.

“We’ve got four, five, six guys that when they touch the ball it’s a chance it’s going to the end zone. That’s what’s happened in those big plays,” Purvis said. “The linemen in the run game are blocking it well and opening up holes, then giving John Wyatt time to throw it in the pass game, and athletes are making plays in space.”

At the root of it all, Purvis added, is a tight-knit group that has meshed well on and off the field while staying focused on the possibilities in front of them.

“I think it’s just the group we have. They’ve bought into it. They’re playing unselfishly. They’re playing for each other,” Purvis said. “They’re executing what we’re asking them to execute, and they’re probably playing faster than any team I’ve ever had. They’re thinking fast and they’re playing fast.”

All games start at 7 p.m.
Porter’s Chapel at Hillcrest (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Riverfield at St. Aloysius (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Sharkey-Issaquena Academy at Tallulah Academy
Jefferson County at Port Gibson
Madison Parish at Abramson

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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