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Teams ready to play in jamborees

NATCHEZ — This week, local high school football teams will strap on their helmets and tie up their cleats to see how much their hard work over the summer has paid off.

Natchez High School, Cathedral High School, Adams County Christian School and Trinity Episcopal Day School are all storming the field in hopes that several hours of training will led to a promising season ahead.

Natchez High will go against Crystal Springs at home in a two-quarter scrimmage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and head coach Lance Reed said he’s hoping to see a lot of improvement from last year.

“We want to make sure our line will be lining up correctly,” Reed said. “We want to make sure our guys are competing. We want to see maximum effort.”

Reed said a scrimmage this early in the season would still prove to be a learning experience.

“We’re still teaching and getting them to learn what we want them to know,” Reed said.

Overall, Reed said he looks for his defense to show strength, especially his defensive line.

“I’m hoping our defense comes out and plays well for us,” he said. “Our defensive line must be the catalyst of our defense.”

As for the offense, Reed said it would take some time for them to fully come together after junior Sidney Davis made the move from wide receiver to quarterback.

Friday will be his first game at the quarterback position.

“(Davis) has specific assignments he has to improve on, but all we ask of him is to not turn the ball over, protect the ball and give a great effort,” Reed said.

Cathedral High School is preparing for a competitive matchup against Wilkinson County Christian Academy at 7 p.m. Friday in Woodville.

The varsity team will play two quarters with no special teams, and the junior varsity team will see some playing time with one quarter to battle it out.

“We’re going to let everybody play,” Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said. “We’re really concentrating on five positions during this game — the offensive line.”

Rushing said his offense line is the most essential part to his offense. Without them, the offense will collapse.

“Our offense is about timing,” Rushing said. “If we don’t get the protection up front, then the offense won’t work.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Rushing said he is looking for extreme competitiveness and aggression.

“We’re going to play our base defense to see how our guys react,” he said. “I want to see them run to the football, and I want to see them react quickly.”

With the weather conditions being less than favorable this week, Rushing said it has been difficult to prepare his team the way he wanted to.

“I want to see where these guys’ conditioning is,” he said. “We want to see how they hold up.”

Wilkinson County Christian Academy head coach David Wright said the Rams have a tough non-district schedule, and the scrimmage will be an added challenge for his team.

“We want to showcase what we’ve been working on,” Wright said.

Adams County Christian School head coach David King said he doesn’t look at jamborees as games, but as a way to tighten up his players before heading into their season opener against Wilkinson Country Christian School.

“This is an organizer, so we can get ready for our opening game,” King said.

ACCS will play Columbia Academy in the Copiah Jamboree at 6:30 p.m. and River Oaks at 7:30 p.m. today.

As they go into the jamboree, King said his players must work hard to prove themselves.

“There are zero starting positions,” King said. “This will be a chance to make the starting lineup.”

King said he would definitely focus on his defense’s improvements this year.

“We want to be able to tackle better than last year,” King said. “We have to sharpen up our defense.”

When it comes to his offense, King said he’s not worried about making plays, as things will progress as the season comes. Instead, King said he wants to focus on his Rebels’ bond.

“We’re looking for that brotherhood first off,” he said. “We want to see how they will react together. We want to see how they’ll perform under adversity.”

Trinity Episcopal Day School will also play in the Copiah Jamboree when they go head-to-head with Central Hinds Academy at 5 p.m. and Copiah Academy at 7 p.m.

Trinity head coach Josh Loy said their trip to Copiah is all about improving from last season.

“We just want to correct our mistakes from last year,” Loy said. “This is the time of the season where we are just correcting.”

Loy said the offensive line must improve steadily if they want to move forward with their progress.

“We missed some assignments in our running game, and we didn’t protect the quarterback well,” Loy said.

Loy said Dre McCoy, Dee Fleming and Michael Whitley have been doing well, and he looks for them to lead the offense.

Defensively, Loy said he’s still trying to get his defense in the right place at the right time.

Defensive back Trey Hall will be an instrumental part of Loy’s defense, and Loy said Hall has stepped up greatly over summer.

After several scrimmages over the summer, Loy said he is confident that his team will prove that they are a different team than last year.