Porter’s Chapel ready to claim first district football title since 2008

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Porter’s Chapel Academy’s outstanding football season has been six years in the making.

Its current senior class started together as seventh-graders and had a successful run in junior high. They made the playoffs and then won a playoff game as sophomores and juniors, ending long droughts for the program in both categories.

Now they have two more boxes to check this Friday. The Eagles (10-0, 2-0 MAIS District 3-2A) can complete an undefeated regular season and clinch the school’s first district championship since 2008 by beating Prairie View Academy (5-4, 2-0).

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“Each year we’ve built on the year before. This year they’ve done that as well. It’s great to see Porter’s Chapel back in the win columns like that and experience success on the football field,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said.

PCA has already set a school record for points in a season, with 505, and has its sights set on a deep playoff run.

Senior quarterback John Wyatt Massey set the school’s season and career records for touchdown passes by throwing six in last week’s 58-8 win over Wilkinson County Christian. Another senior, Thomas Azlin, has 15 touchdown receptions and only needs two more to break the season record.

Purvis said the Eagles’ record-setting season has developed organically from their success, and not from chasing the various marks.

“Coming into the year it wasn’t one of those things that was talked about much. I think that says something about this group. It’s not something week in, week out that we’re counting down to it,” Purvis said.

“Obviously in the last week, when we’ve gotten so close to many, it’s been brought up. But I’ve heard more comments from this group that, ‘I don’t care, I just want to win,’ than I have that, ‘We can break this record or that record.’ I think that’s why we’re being successful, and why we’ve been able to win two really close games against really close football teams, is because at the end of the day they don’t care who’s getting the credit right now. They just want the win and to play the next game. That’s made a huge difference in our season.”

Despite all of their accomplishments to this point, the Eagles have a lot of work to do before they can fully celebrate them.

The winner of Friday’s game will get the No. 4 seed in the MAIS Class 2A playoff bracket and the first-round bye that goes to the district champion. The loser, meanwhile, will plummet.

Porter’s Chapel could drop as low as the No. 7 seed because of its weak strength of schedule component in the MAIS power points formula that sets the bracket. Prairie View might miss the playoffs entirely.

Twelve of the 15 teams in Class 2A qualify for the postseason. Prairie View is currently ranked No. 13 in power points. That makes this an all-or-nothing game for both teams, Purvis said, rather than a victory lap or coronation for his squad.

“I think it’s a playoff game from both perspectives. We get a win, and then we pick up a playoff win. We get a bye, so we’re already into the second round. On the flip side of it, Prairie View is right on the cut line it looks like,” Purvis said. “There’s just as much at stake for them, as well as a district championship. It’s a huge game on both sides. The winner has a lot to gain and the loser has a lot to lose.”

All games start at 7 p.m.
Porter’s Chapel at Prairie View (Radio: 104.5 FM)
Winston Academy at St. Aloysius (Radio: 101.3 FM)
Callaway at Vicksburg High (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Warren Central at Neshoba Central (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Claiborne Academy at Tallulah Academy
River Oaks at Sharkey-Issaquena Academy
Clinton Christian at Central Hinds
Franklin County at Port Gibson
Madison Parish at Oak Grove, La.

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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