PCA’s dream season comes to an end in MAIS Class 2A semifinals

Published 12:40 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

WEST HELENA, Ark. — Porter’s Chapel Academy’s dream season ended with a nightmare.

DeSoto School scored three touchdowns in a span of about five minutes wrapped around the halftime break, and rode the momentum to a 52-14 victory over PCA in the MAIS Class 2A semifinals on Friday.

DeSoto School (12-0) advanced to the state championship game for the third season in a row and will play Newton Academy on Nov. 17 at Jackson Academy.

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PCA finished with a 12-1 record in its best season since 2008.

“There’s nothing that’s going to take the sting away from this for a little while. These guys fought and clawed,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “At the beginning of the year I don’t think anybody gave them a shot to be here, and they didn’t listen to it and they didn’t make excuses. They came out and they got after it week after week. They deserved to be here. There was no fluke that they were here, and they came up here and played their tails off. I am so proud of these guys. It just didn’t go our way.”

Jase Jung ran for 147 yards and one touchdown for Porter’s Chapel, and also threw a 25-yard TD pass to Ty Mack. Mack finished with three receptions for 81 yards, to go along with 27 rushing yards.

The Eagles struggled to make hay against DeSoto all night, however, and then lost control when the Thunderbirds had their quick burst in the second and third quarters.

A long touchdown run with about 1:30 left in the second quarter was matched by another on the first play of the third to take DeSoto’s lead from 14-6 to 30-6. A bad snap on PCA’s next possession was recovered and returned for a 60-yard TD by DeSoto and the rout was fully on.

“It definitely took the wind out of our sails. We’re in a 14-6 ballgame and played our tails off. We’d overcome some adversity. Then with a minute and a half to go they busted a big play on us to go up two scores on us at halftime,” Purvis said. “Again, we couldn’t quite finish the play. We had a guy wrapped up and couldn’t quite finish it.”

The Eagles couldn’t quite finish their quest for the first state championship in school history, either, but Purvis refused to let that be what he’ll remember about this team.

The Eagles won 11 games the previous two seasons combined, and surpassed that total this year. They reached the semifinal round of the playoffs for only the fourth time in school history and set a half-dozen school records with a roster that only had 13 varsity players.

A bad night against a quality team, Purvis said, did not erase everything the Eagles accomplished.

“The story is the story, but it should not discount or take away from the year that these guys had. They exceeded all expectations that anybody had all year long,” Purvis said. “They didn’t come up here and lay down. They came up here and they fought and they battled to the very end. I’m never going to be disappointed in that.”