Four Down Territory: PCA needs new jerseys; USM’s Habas makes triumphant return; Belhaven surges

Published 7:16 pm Sunday, October 8, 2023

Welcome to Four Down territory, where each week we recap four notes, nuggets or trends from the week that was in Mississippi high school football, college football and the NFL.

Porter’s Chapel is back as a state championship contender.

It might be a while, however, before they’re back in black.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

During a 44-42 victory over Sharkey-Issaquena Academy on Friday, PCA running backs Jase Jung and Ty Mack had three jerseys ripped to shreds by defenders trying to make tackles.

Mack had his No. 1 jersey destroyed and hastily donned the No. 11 of eighth-grader Grayson Price during the fourth quarter. Jung lost his original No. 3 jersey, as well as a second with the same number. He finished the game wearing the No. 5 of teammate Lakelan Pecanty.

Pecanty, an eighth-grader who did not play, switched to No. 41. He wore Jung’s No. 3, which was fully torn down the middle, over his uniform like a coat.

“I took 28 snaps and they just ripped them. They were trying to grab me. These jerseys aren’t the best quality, but I like them,” said Jung, who had 26 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns, and also threw a touchdown pass.

PCA had a “blackout game” for its showdown with previously-undefeated Sharkey-Issaquena, by wearing black jerseys and black pants. With three jerseys destroyed, however, head coach Blake Purvis said the team will likely have to retire the black-on-black ensemble for the rest of the season.

PCA also has white road jerseys, as well as a blue alternate, in its wardrobe. The undefeated Eagles (9-0) have two regular-season games and as many as four playoff games still to play.

PCA is home vs. Wilkinson County Christian Academy on Oct. 13, and at Prairie View on Oct. 20.

“Thankfully we’ve got a couple extra sets. We may just have to retire the black ones for this year. We’ve got some other ones and we’ll just roll to the next one,” Purvis said. “Kind of like the mentality of this team, it’s just on to the next one. We’ll just put the next jersey on and play the next game.”

Southern Miss linebacker Averie Habas authored one of the feel-good stories of the college football season on Saturday.

Habas, a senior from Wisconsin, was diagnosed with a heart condition during the summer. He had a procedure performed on his heart on July 14, and was ruled out for the season. His entire football career, in fact, was in question.

He started rebuilding his strength, however, and last week a check-up showed his condition had improved dramatically. He was cleared to practice and then to play. On Saturday, he started for the Golden Eagles and had two sacks in a 17-13 loss to Old Dominion.

“It felt good. A lot of my family members are here today — got in around 10 p.m. last night after flying in. To be able to play in front of them is special to me. That’s the reason why I play this game; it’s for them. It’s for my family, my wife and the brothers next to me,” Habas said. “To hear the crowd get into it and my teammates being there was special. I couldn’t hear my family up there, but I know they were cheering for me up there.”

The best season in the 25-year history of Belhaven University’s football program was 2022. It’s on pace to change that distinction to 2023.

Belhaven beat Huntingdon College 29-3 on Saturday to snap the Hawks’ 19-game conference winning streak that stretched back to 2020. Kolbe Blunt had 225 yards — his second straight 200-yard rushing game — and two touchdowns as the Blazers ran for 411 yards as a team.

Belhaven improved to 5-0 for the first time in the program’s 25-year history. Its school record for wins is eight, set last season. Belhaven has never won a conference championship, but is tied for first place in the NCAA DIvision III USA South Athletic Conference.

“For a long time a lot of people have doubted Belhaven football, but Belhaven football is here and I don’t think we’re going anywhere,” Blazers head coach Blaine McCorkle said afterward. “This is the biggest game in Belhaven history, but I hope it’s not the biggest one ever.”

The New Orleans Saints handed a rare — and historic — beatdown to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The Saints forced three turnovers and held New England to 156 total yards to roll to a 34-0 victory in Foxborough. It was the second-worst home shutout loss in Patriots’ history, behind only a 52-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins in 1972. It was the first time the Patriots have been shut out at all since Oct. 2, 2016, when Buffalo beat them 16-0.

New England fell to 1-4 for the first time since head coach Bill Belichick’s first season in 2000. The team won the first of its six Super Bowls with Belichick and Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady the following year.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has five touchdown passes in five games this season but has also given up scores on three interceptions and a fumble. His four pick-6s in 19 games at Gillette Stadium are as many as Brady threw in the building in the regular season in his 18 years with the franchise.

The Saints also had some history happen. Running back Alvin Kamara scored his 73rd career touchdown, breaking a tie with former Saints wide receiver Marques Colston for the most touchdowns in team history. The 2-yard run also gave Kamara 50 career rushing touchdowns, joining Mark Ingram as the only Saints to rush for at least 50 scores.

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.

email author More by Ernest