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Bulldogs still with plenty to prove

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School senior linebacker Charles Bates said there are still some doubters out there.

Nevermind that the Bulldogs are coming off a big 54-41 win against Meridian High School, which was ranked the No. 1 team in the state at the time. Bates said the Bulldogs still have more to prove.

“I feel like we did good, but we need to keep it up and play hard (tonight), because we still have a lot of doubters,” Bates said.

The Bulldogs (4-1) will travel to Terry High School (3-2) tonight, and Bates said the game is another opportunity for the State of Mississippi to take notice of NHS.

“People around Mississippi are still doubting us, but I feel like we’ve got it,” Bates said. “We can do it.”

One thing head coach Lance Reed has been preaching this week is not having a letdown after a big win. Reed said it’s something he’s reminded his players of every day in practice.

“We’ve tried to work just as hard, and we really don’t want that to take place,” Reed said. “We’ve focused on it so we can keep showing that improvement that we’ve been seeing.”

Improvement has been a big theme for NHS ever since the opening-week loss to Wilkinson County High School.

“We feel we’ve improved considerably (since then),” Reed said. “Wilkinson County is a great team that gave us all we wanted in the first game, and it forced us to go back and reevaluate things.”

Bates said it also provided fuel to motivate the Bulldog players.

“We went to practice and worked hard,” Bates said. “We had to get things right and everything. I feel like that loss sort of sparked us.”

Reed said specific improvements include learning to play together as a team a little better, as well as better offensive line play and overall effort.

“We’re just trying to stay focused and keep improving on a weekly basis,” Reed said.

Terry will not be taken lightly by the Bulldogs’ coaching staff, and Reed said quarterback Jarius Moore is a key playmaker for Terry.

“They also have some other skill guys that make plays for them,” Reed said. “They will be a formidable opponent for us.”

Bates said he hopes more than anything that his players don’t have the kind of letdown Reed has been warning them about.

“I don’t want it to happen,” Bates said. “If it does, the team and coaches will be upset, and people will start doubting us more than they did.”

Kickoff is at 7:30 tonight at Terry.