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Senior Evin Hunt leading Bulldog defense from linebacker position

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Natchez High School senior linebacker Evin Hunt makes a catch during a drill Tuesday afternoon at practice. Hunt has led the Bulldogs in tackles the past two games in wins over Meridian and Terry.

NATCHEZ — Senior linebacker Evin Hunt has collected 22 tackles in Natchez High School’s last two games to help lead the Bulldogs’ defense to two region victories.

Although the Natchez offense stole the show in its first district victory over Meridian High School, the Bulldogs’ defense came up big with some late stops to secure the win. Last week against Terry High School, the defense held Terry down enough for the offense to come from behind and score a last-minute touchdown to get the win.

Hunt was key in both victories, and he said his role on the defense goes beyond making tackles.

Hunt is one of the leaders of the defense, and he knows where everyone is supposed to be at all times and serves as a coach on the field, he said.

“It’s a big responsibility, because if we don’t line up or someone doesn’t know where to go, then it could mean a loss,” Hunt said.

The Natchez defense starts eight seniors this season, and Hunt said the familiarity he has with his teammates has created a cohesive defensive unit.

“I love playing with those guys,” he said.

Natchez head coach Lance Reed said Hunt provides a playmaker at linebacker for the Bulldogs defense.

“Evin brings a sense of toughness,” Reed said. “He flies around and makes plays. That’s the job we expect him to do.”

The Bulldogs will look to continue rolling Friday when they host Forest Hill for homecoming, and Hunt said this is a special week for him and his senior teammates.

“Everybody treats you different (during homecoming),” Hunt said. “But it feels kind of bad this year, because I don’t want it to be over with. But it is what it is.”

Despite the weeklong homecoming festivities, Hunt said the football team will remain focused on its goals.

“We’re focused on football,” he said. “We will participate in homecoming a little, but we are staying focused on Forest Hill.”

Reed said homecoming can be a distraction, but it is also a chance to showcase what the Bulldogs have done this season.

“We definitely want to instill some pride around the community and the school,” he said.

But Reed said in the end Forest Hill (1-5, 0-2) is just another tough MHSAA Region 3-6A opponent.

“We are in the toughest region in the state,” Reed said. “It’s a very important game, and every win counts. You want to get as many region wins as you can.”

Reed said his team has shown a lot of character in its last two victories — both hard-fought games against region opponents.

Hunt said he hopes the defense continues to grow each week and by the time postseason play rolls around he wants the defense to be at its best.

“By the time playoffs are here, I want to be a championship defense,” he said. “We are improving each day.”

Hunt and the Bulldogs (5-1, 2-0) will host Forest Hill at 7 p.m. Friday. Natchez is currently one of three unbeaten teams in Region 3-6A. Brandon and Petal are also unbeaten and face each other Friday.