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Bulldogs lose game in first quarter

BRANDON — Natchez High School managed to win the final three quarters of Friday night’s matchup at No. 4 Brandon High School, but it was a strong opening quarter by the home team that made the difference.

Brandon won the opening frame 14-0 and held on in the final three quarters for a 37-24 win that damaged Natchez High’s playoff chances.

“They jumped out to a lead, and we kind of had to get our composure,” Natchez head coach Lance Reed said. “We came back and scored, but we just kind of let one by us tonight. We didn’t execute in several phases, and it costs us.”

The Brandon running game hurt the Natchez defense all night, Reed said.

“They ran the ball well on us,” he said. “We didn’t tackle well and didn’t play the run as well as we wanted to, which was a focus going into the game.”

Reed said Natchez had its opportunities to pull off the road victory, however.

“They turned the ball over a couple times, and we didn’t make the best out of those chances.”

It was the Natchez defense that started the scoring for the visitors when Tony Kaho returned an interception 35 yards for a score in the second quarter. Derrian Johnson added another touchdown later in the quarter, but Natchez failed to convert on each conversion after its touchdowns. Brandon led 24-12 at half. In the third quarter, quarterback Anthony Robinson found Sidney Davis on a 15-yard touchdown pass. The kick failed again, and Natchez trailed 31-18 going into the final quarter.

Davis and Robinson connected again in the fourth quarter, this time from 9 yards out to give Natchez its final score of the game. The visitors missed on every conversion after their touchdowns.

Robinson finished the game 15 of 23 passing for 175 yards two touchdowns. He also rushed for 77 yards. Davis caught 11 balls for 141 yards.

Chris Weatherspoon was all over the field for the Natchez defense. He collected 10 tackles, three assists, two interceptions, forced a fumble and blocked an extra point.

The loss puts Natchez (6-4, 3-3) in a must-win situation next week against Oak Grove. Both teams are 3-3 in MHSAA Region 3-6A.

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