Porter’s Chapel earns some rest and relaxation along with district title

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Being idle while a lot of their MAIS brethren are preparing for the first round of the playoffs is something Porter’s Chapel Academy got used to for a while.

This time, though, they’re enjoying it.

The Eagles earned a first-round bye in the Class 2A playoffs by winning their first district championship since 2008. After 11 grueling weeks of football they are taking a moment to celebrate, rest and relax as they await the winner of this week’s game between Deer Creek (4-6) and Prairie View Academy (5-5).

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

“I think it comes at a great time for us. We’ve played 11 games. It’s been a long season. It gives us a week to recharge and relax a little bit before we go make a run at this,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said.

Porter’s Chapel (11-0) missed the playoffs in six consecutive seasons from 2015-20, and was often first-round cannon fodder for stronger teams when it did qualify during the 2010s. After reaching the Class 1A semifinals in 2008, the Eagles did not win another playoff game until 2022.

This season is different, though — very different.

PCA has scored a school-record 547 points, and has already broken a number of single-season individual statistical records. Quarterback John Wyatt Massey has set the school’s season mark for touchdown passes (33), receiver Thomas Azlin for touchdown receptions (16), and running back Jase Jung for rushing touchdowns (23).

Winning that way, as well as winning in general — the Eagles are 11-0 for the first time since 2008, and only the third time in school history — has created a buzz that hasn’t been felt in years, Purvis said.

“I’ve heard it said many times that the first six games of your football season sets the tone for your entire school year. I think we’re seeing that here,” Purvis said. “There’s a lot of excitement around here. We’ve built a following of sorts on social media and at games we’re getting people showing up and supporting these guys. The morale is great. The kids are excited. You can tell it walking the hallways, and you can tell there’s a lot of excitement when they come out to practice.“

What Purvis has been most pleased about is the way the Eagles are handling their business — not with eye-popping stats or lopsided wins, but in the grounded, focused approach they’re bringing to the fieldhouse every day.

Purvis said that, as much as talent, has been the key to their breakthrough season.

“It’s easy to be proud of them for an undefeated season and district champs. What I’m more proud of is what they’ve done as a team,” Purvis said. “They love each other, they come to work, they pick each other up, they’re unselfish. All those things you want a team to be, this group has done it.”

The challenge this week, Purvis added, is to maintain that focus and the team’s momentum while taking advantage of the bye week. PCA played 11 games while most other MAIS teams played 10. It will take a lighter approach in practice to heal up minor bumps and bruises, and enjoy the fruits of success for just a moment before getting back to work.

“We have to keep focused on what we’re doing. We can’t waste a whole week. We’re planning on doing a lot of self-scout this week, probably a little more film study than we have. Give them a little lighter on the field week just because they’ve played 11 weeks in a row,” Purvis said. “It’s a good week to let them heal up, be lighter on them in practice on the field, get some mental reps so we’re not behind, and just take advantage of the time we have when we can’t gear up for an opponent because we don’t know who it is.”

All games start at 7 p.m.
Warren Central at Callaway (Radio: 105.5 FM)
Vicksburg at Columbus (Radio: 107.7 FM)
Tensas Academy at Tallulah Academy
Port Gibson at South Pike
Madison Parish at Vidalia

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