Lackluster turnout: Low turnout for NHS vs. Ferriday High SchoolPublished 1:20am Monday, September 3, 2012
NATCHEZ — The Natchez High School football fans that came to Saturday’s home victory over Ferriday High School left happy, while the Trojan fans started filing out of Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium early in the fourth quarter.
But it was the small crowd at the start of the game that caught the eye of Natchez athletic director and Concordia Parish School Board member Fred Butcher.
“To be honest, I’m a little disappointed (in the turnout),” Butcher said at halftime of the Bulldogs’ 33-6 win. “It’s a decent crowd, but not what we would expect for Ferriday and Natchez.”
Butcher said he believed playing the game on Saturday after Tropical Storm Isaac forced kickoff to be postponed led to the smaller crowd.
“We had to share the day with Alcorn (State University) and Grambling (State University),” he said. “I mean Ferriday is a Grambling town and Natchez is an Alcorn town, so we had to compete with that (game).”
Natchez High fans Charles Beamer and Leonard Frazier said they too thought college football kept fans away from the game Saturday night.
“On Saturday night people want to be at home watching the college games,” Frazier said.
Beamer, a self-proclaimed “Natchez High School fanatic,” said the traditional schedule of high school games Friday, college games Saturday and NFL games Sunday is always best.
“There is nothing like Friday nights for high school games,” he said.
Despite the smaller crowd, Beamer and Frazier both said they were enjoying watching Natchez play good ball Saturday night.
The Saturday kickoff kept many of the Ferriday fans on their side of the river as well, but many hardcore Trojans made it to the game to support their team.
“I just want to support Ferriday,” Trojan fan Ronald Wilkerson said at halftime. “I am a die-hard fan, and I would be out here rain, shine, mosquitos or West Nile.”
The Trojans struggled in their first game of the season, but Wilkerson said he has confidence the team will find its groove this season.
“It’s the first game. They are going to be alright,” he said.
Wilkerson said the smaller crowd put a slight damper on the heated rivalry, but he enjoyed watching the two teams play ball.
“(The crowd) is a little disappointing but there is nothing we can do about it,” he said.
Not only did Isaac cause the game to be pushed back a day, it also kept both teams from practicing this week and made the play sloppy at times. Natchez ended the game with 10 penalties for 95 yards, which head coach Lance Reed credited in part to missing so much practice.
Ferriday fumbled the ball six times and lost four of those to the Bulldogs, which hurt the Trojans’ cause on offense.
The Trojans (0-1) will look forward to another rivalry game this week when Block High School comes to visit. Natchez (2-1) will travel to face Warren Central.