Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos by Brian Tannehill | Director of Photography
CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE – While volleyball, basketball and softball seem to be entrenched in the athletics spotlight, the football team at Prattville Christian Academy has been entrenched in the shadows; mired in a series of winless outings.
That changed last week when the Panthers knocked off Thorsby, marking their first onfield victory in at least three years.
“We have seen some big improvement in our team so far this season,” said first-year Panthers Coach Norman Dean. “Our players better understand how we expect them to workout, the level of effort needed at practice and the effort needed to become a competitive team. We, as a staff, have been pleased with how the players are growing as players and as teammates.”
The Panthers – against Thorsby – jumped out to a 7-0 lead and maintained it through the intermission. The Rebels – in the second half – pushed ahead 16-13. PCA put a stop to the scoring in the final frame adding a touchdown of their own to secure the 20-16 victory.
PCA quarterback Tanner Byrd accounted for all three scores, tossing touchdown passes to Trey Barkley (30 yards) and Liam Taylor (27 yards). He capped the Panthers scoring with a short plunge into the end zone late in the game. Barkley secured the win, intercepting a Rebels pass.
That victory was Prattville Christian’s first since defeating Horseshoe Bend 47-0 to close out the 2018 season. The Panthers – that year – finished 4-6 with wins over JU Blackshear, Southside (Selma), Bullock County and the aforementioned Horseshoe Bend Generals.
PCA Athletics Director Tara Osborne was ecstatic watching the Panthers snap the streak: “It was one of the happiest moments I’ve felt since becoming the Athletics Director here and will be a memory I won’t forget. I was so happy for all of our guys and coaches, but especially for our seniors. Some of those guys have been through so much over their years of playing PCA Football, but they never quit and kept coming back year after year even when so many questioned why they kept playing. They have worked so hard and to see it finally pay off brought so much joy. I even cried tears of joy for them.”
Now this is where things get interesting. The Panthers – who picked up a Week 2 forfeit win over Selma’s Ellwood Christian – have a chance to win out the season.
PCA (2-4, 0-3) goes to Southside (Selma) (4-1, 2-1) Friday night; then to 1-5 Monroe County and then to 2-3 Greensboro. They end the season at Vincent.
Dean: “We are expecting the second half of the season to be an opportunity for our team to continue to improve and to keep moving forward.”
There’s a chance the Panthers could string together enough wins to finish the season above .500 and make a case for the postseason.
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