Hounds up against undefeated Porter’s Chapel

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008

FERRIDAY — Huntington head coach Chad Harkins feels like his team will be up to the challenge tonight when the Hounds travel to Vicksburg to take on Porter’s Chapel in the second round of the MPSA Class A South State Playoffs.

Huntington, 9-3, advanced to the second round with an impressive 44-24 win over Newton County Academy while top-ranked and undefeated Porter’s Chapel moved on by getting past Tallulah Academy 10-0. The win improved the Eagles to 12-0.

“Our kids are definitely excited. Anytime you play someone who’s undefeated, it brings some excitement to them. We’re going to see how we stack up against them,” Harkins said.

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Kickoff between the Hounds and the Eagles is at 7 p.m.

Harkins knows his team will have to play mistake-free football in order to upset the No. 1 team in Class A.

“I’ve seen a bunch of film on them, three or four games. They’re pretty solid. Anytime you’re undefeated and 12-0, that’s something special,” Harkins said.

Porter’s Chapel’s offense is much different than Huntington’s in that it is more balanced.

“They’re 60-40 run. They’ll throw it some. They get in a wishbone. They’ve got a kid (Josh) Perry, who’s a good runner. Number 30, Travis Thornell, is a good running back. They’ve got Clayton Holmes, No. 13, who’s a good running back,” Harkins said. “They run the I-formation. They’ve got a couple of 6-5, 6-6 kids who play tight end and defensive line.”

One of those players who could get the ball thrown to him some is junior tight end Reed Gordon. Another player to watch is senior offensive lineman/defensive lineman Jacob Rachal, along with his brother Zach Rachal.

“We may not be able to stop them. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing (defensively),” Harkins said.

Another way that Huntington will try to keep Porter’s Chapel’s offense on the sidelines as much as possible is by running the ball and taking time off the clock.

The Hounds have a good trio of running backs in Kevin Brown, Josh Lee and Jeremy Randall. In last week’s win over Newton County Academy, the three combined for 347 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

Harkins noted that if his team is to defeat the Eagles, those three will have to have that kind of effort Friday night. And they’ll need to put points on the board as well against a Porter’s Chapel team that has held 11 of its previous 12 opponents under 20 points.

“We’re going to run the ball. If the pass presents itself, we’re going to throw it,” he said. “That’s how we want to be. If we can possible spread it around, we will. We’re going to find out what they’re giving us and we’ll try to take advantage of it.”

Harkins said the Eagles will basically run a 5-3 defense, but they will also use a six-man front and possibly even a 4-man front.

“That Perry kids also plays linebacker. It’ll be a challenge for our offense to block their guys,” he said.