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NHS showing smooth moves in race to top of region

Natchez High School’s Jadarius Davis dives for extra yardage Friday night against Forest Hill defenders Trakarius King and Jaques Slater. The Bulldogs beat the Patriots, 47-10. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — A 20-7 lead at the half wasn’t enough. Natchez High School wanted to go into intermission with even more momentum.

One special play later and the Bulldogs had a relaxing halftime en route to a 47-10 homecoming win against Forest Hill High School Friday night.

With the clock down to zero in the second quarter, NHS quarterback Anthony Robinson tossed the ball to his right, where homecoming king Derrian Johnson sat waiting. But instead of taking off, Johnson channeled the quarterback side of himself and hit Tony Kaho downfield for a 59-yard touchdown pass.

“When I got the ball, I think they were expecting me to run it,” Johnson said. “I saw the corner come up, and if he comes up, that means (Kaho) is behind him.”

NHS head coach Lance Reed said the staff called for the downfield pass, and it’s not the first time his team has run that play.

“We just took a shot there,” Reed said. “We were at the end of the half with not much time on the clock while we were backed up, and it was just a shot play. We wanted to see how disciplined they were playing, and it worked. We’ve run it before, and we don’t mind taking shots here and there.”

Jadarius Davis celebrates his fourth quarter touchdown during the Bulldog’s homecoming win. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

Johnson said the play gave his team the momentum it needed to continue playing strong into the second half.

“It gives us a lot of momentum, because it makes them drop their heads for a second,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if they kept it down or whatever, but scoring that fast, it’s hard to come back up.”

The Bulldogs had a touchdown reception by Kaho from 35 yards out on their opening drive, but the play was called back due to offensive pass interference. NHS didn’t let the penalty disrupt its flow, as the Bulldogs scored on their next possession with a 7-yard touchdown catch by Sidney Davis.

NHS made it 13-0 after one when Robinson took off for a 50-yard touchdown run. The Patriots cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 13-7 with 2:42 left in the second on a 1-yard run by Joshua Moncure.

Johnson scored from 2 yards out on a run with 46 seconds left, and a turnover by Forest Hill set up the Bulldogs’ last-second touchdown play before the half.

With 4:49 left in the third quarter, Kaho caught his second touchdown pass of the night on a 34-yard pass from Robinson. Jadarius Davis got in on the action with 11 minutes to go in the fourth, hauling in a 15-yard touchdown catch on fourth down.

Forest Hill scored its final points of the night on a 28-yard field goal by Joseph Nuttall with 8:16 left in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs made it 47-10 with one minute remaining on a 9-yard touchdown run by Walter Turner.

Robinson was 18-for-23 in passing for NHS with 272 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs finished with 304 yards passing and 241 yards on the ground. Nicholas Barnes led NHS in rushing with 97 yards.

With the win, NHS (6-1, 3-0) turns its attention to Petal High School, ranked No. 2 in MHSAA Class 6A and No. 3 overall in the state by the Associated Press coming into Friday.

“We have to go get prepared (today),” Reed said. “We’re going to watch our film, and we’re excited about our stretch in our (region). It’s the toughest in the state, and we have to get better and be ready to compete.”