Natchez High School’s Anthony Robinson fumbles the ball as he is tackled by Wilkinson County High School’s Khan Jarvis during Friday night’s game at Natchez. Wilkinson County defeated Natchez 24-22. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

Fumble defines Natchez loss

Published 12:37am Saturday, August 18, 2012

NATCHEZ — Wilkinson County High School’s Allenzae Staggers had plenty of catches Friday night, but all he had to do was fall on a rolling ball to pick up his biggest grab of the game.

The Wildcats’ wide receiver/defensive back fell on a fumble by Natchez High School quarterback Anthony Robinson with only 3:30 left in the game to secure a 24-22 win for Wilkinson County.

“This was a hard-fought ball game,” Wilkinson County head coach Kenneth Brown said. “It’s been several years since we’ve beat Natchez.”

Staggers coupled his game-changing fumble recovery with 10 receptions for 107 yards on the offensive end. It was the Wildcats’ ability to mix up the offense behind quarterback Devin Voorhies that led to them building a 24-8 lead in the first half.

“Our practice and all our hard work to prepare worked well,” Voorhies said. “This is a great start, and hopefully everybody has got their minds right now.”

Voorhies completed 10 of 17 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 66 yards and three two-point conversions.

“I thought (Voorhies) did an outstanding job,” Brown said.

Natchez coach Lance Reed said his team ran into a tough Wilkinson County team Friday, and the Wildcats managed to execute better than the Bulldogs.

“We played a good team,” Reed said. “I give all the (credit) to them. They played hard.”

Natchez had chances to tie the game in the second half after the Wildcats took a 24-16 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs cut the deficit to 24-22 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Waldron Mosby late in the third quarter, but Robinson’s two-point conversion pass fell just short of his intended target to leave the Bulldogs behind.

Wilkinson County forced Natchez to punt on its first possession of the final frame. But Natchez got one more chance with 4:32 left on the clock.

Robinson started the drive by hooking up with Sidney Davis on a 15-yard pass to push the Bulldogs to their own 30-yard line. Two plays later, the Bulldogs faced a second down and 7 yards to go when Robinson took off on a quarterback scramble. He picked up 10 yards before being hit from behind and losing the ball. Staggers recovered it at midfield, and Wilkinson County was able to pick up two first downs to run the clock out.

Voorhies hooked up with Staggers for the Wildcats’ first touchdown of the game. Natchez tied the game at 8-8, but Nicholas Hull took the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to give the Wildcats a 16-8 lead after one quarter.

Elton Jolla gave Wilkinson County a 24-8 lead with a 1-yard plunge with just over four minutes to go in the first half. Natchez responded just before halftime on a 4-yard touchdown run by Derrian Johnson.

Wilkinson County outgained Natchez 256 yards to 238 yards in the contest.

Natchez finished the game with 11 penalties for 70 yards.

Natchez (0-1) will travel to face Jefferson County next week. Wilkinson County (1-0) will host Amite County.