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Johnson on the spot: NHS back tallies four TDs as Bulldogs top Ferriday High

Natchez High School’s Derrian Johnson runs the ball as Ferriday High School’s Dontrell Domino attempts to tackle him during Saturday’s game. Natchez defeated Ferriday, 33-7. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Derrian Johnson literally did it all for the Natchez High School football team Saturday night against Ferriday High School.

The senior all-purpose player accounted for four Bulldogs’ touchdowns in the 33-6 victory for the team on the east side of the Mississippi River.

“We were really able to do a lot, and the defense didn’t know what to expect,” Johnson said. “We executed real well on offense.”

Natchez coach Lance Reed said he was pleased with the balance his offense had Saturday night.

“I thought we did a lot of the things we wanted to do,” Reed said. “We had a lot of guys give us production, and we executed better. We took some steps forward.”

The Bulldogs defense also had a solid night, holding Ferriday to 145 total yards, and Ferriday head coach Cleothis Cummings said Natchez just had too much for the Trojans.

“I put this loss on me,” he said. “I didn’t have them prepared. The kids played to the best of their ability, and the coaches did a good job keeping them enthusiastic on the sideline.

“Natchez has a lot of skill guys, and Coach Reed is a great coach. They did a good job.”

Natchez started the scoring on special teams when Kris Weatherspoon blocked a Ferriday punt that Devonte Green recovered in the end zone for the Bulldogs.

Green was all over the field Saturday night. He finished with eight tackles, a sack, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

“Hard and fast is all I was thinking about all day,” Green said. “I think I played alright. I played two-times better than I played last week.”

Ferriday answered in the second quarter when Dontrell Domino scored on a run from 3 yards out to give the Trojans their lone score. The two-point run failed, and Ferriday trailed 7-6.

Natchez answered with a 4-yard touchdown run from Johnson at the 4:11 mark and a 22-yard touchdown pass on a double-pass play from Johnson to Earon Brown with no time left in the half to lead 21-6 at the break.

Quarterback Anthony Robinson threw a lateral to Johnson in the left flat, and then Johnson rose up and threw a pass to Brown who was wide open at the goal line.

The Bulldogs extended the lead to 27-6 when Johnson scored on a 3-yard run midway through the third quarter.

Natchez wrapped up the scoring with 1:19 left in the game when Robinson found Johnson on a 29-yard touchdown pass.

Johnson ended his night 1-1 passing for 22 yards and a score, 77 yards rushing on nine carries and two touchdowns and also caught three balls for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Ferriday hurts its cause offensively with four lost fumbles in the game.

Natchez had its shortcomings in the win as well. The Bulldogs accumulated 95 penalty yards on 10 penalties.

“We hadn’t practiced in pads since Tuesday and that may have led to some flags, but that was more of a challenge for us to overcome adversity,” Reed said.

Cummings said the Trojans have a lot to learn from their first game of the season, and they will get back to work this week.

“We can all get better,” he said. “We just have to learn to execute and get better at what we’re doing.”

Natchez (2-1) will step into MHSAA-6A play next week when it travels to Warren Central. Ferriday (0-1) will host Block High School.