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Friday in review: Big Dogs lead way

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Natchez High School’s Nicholas Barnes finds the hole created by Greg Jackson, SaDarrius Pollard and the rest of the Bulldog offensive line during Friday’s win over Meridian High School.

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School was already ahead 7-0 Friday night when the offense set the tone for the remainder of its game with No. 1 Meridian High School.

The Bulldogs started their second offensive possession on their own 42-yard line. Nine running plays later, Natchez led 13-0, and the offensive line established itself as a dominant force in the game.

By then end of the Bulldogs 54-41 upset of the Wildcats, the offense had rushed for 298 yards and accumulated 26 first downs. Head coach Lance Reed said the offensive line was key in the Bulldogs’ win.

“I think as a unit (the offensive line) played quite well,” Reed said. “We overcame some adversity having to move some guys around, and we had guys step in, and they excelled based on the situation that was given to them.”

Starting tackle Olajuwon Isaac was out for Friday’s game, and guard Jayvin Foster moved out to tackle and played well Reed said.

“He accepted the role quite well, and we didn’t miss a beat,” he said.

Senior Greg Jackson said the offensive line’s success stems from the relationship the players have with one another.

“Basically we just stay together,” Jackson said. “It’s a brotherhood. We’ve been together since eighth grade. One of our boys couldn’t play, and Jayvin filled in, and we were able to do some big things.”

Darius McGruder, Gerald Wiley, and SaDarrius Pollard joined Foster and Jackson in the starting lineup, and offensive line coach Trey Woodard was proud of those five guys, he said.

“They believed,” Woodard said. “They lined up and did a good job. The kids wanted it, and they played like that.”

Foster said the win over a team like Meridian is something the Bulldogs can build on for the rest of the season.

“(It was) the greatest feeling,” Foster said. “I’ve never felt like this.”

Senior Derrian Johnson was the player that benefitted most from the offensive line’s great play. Johnson finished the game with 268 all-purpose yards and had his hand in five touchdowns, and he credited the line for much of his success.

“That was the best performance by an offensive line I’ve seen in a long time,” Johnson said.

Jackson said the offensive line does not want to let Friday’s game be its best of the season, and he is ready to try to get even better this week.

“We have to get better,” he said. “We have to go to work.”

Natchez (4-1) will travel to face Terry High School Friday.