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Players make local prep football fun

If Sidney Davis doesn’t like surprises — well, that’s just too bad for him.

The junior all-purpose back for Natchez High School was given quite a big surprise recently when it was announced he would begin the season as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.

Davis is no stranger to big plays. En route to earning a first-team Natchez Democrat All-Metro bid last fall, Davis tallied 71 catches for 798 yards and 10 touchdowns, giving rookie quarterback Anthony Robinson a go-to guy as he adjusted to starting at the high school level.

Now, though, with Robinson sidelined for disciplinary reasons, Davis’ role as a playmaker has gotten even larger.

Friday night, he showed signs of being able to play in that role, scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run that was set up by a 40-yard pass to Lee Jackson. He would later go on to connect with Earon Brown on a 2-yard touchdown pass as the Bulldogs topped Crystal Springs 19-6 in a jamboree game.

With Davis accounting for two out of NHS’s three touchdowns Friday night, Bulldog fans are likely hoping it’s a sign that he can take over the role that Derrian Johnson filled last year. It’s big shoes to fill, as Johnson accounted for 1,476 yards of offense for the Bulldogs last season en route to being named The Natchez Democrat All-Metro player of the year.

But narratives like this one are what make following high school football so much fun. Everyone is looking for the next star athlete, wondering if this year will be the year to make a deep playoff run or saying a prayer or two that their team avoids the injury bug.

There are still some questions surrounding Davis. Will Robinson eventually make his way back under center, sliding Davis back over to receiver/all-purpose back? If not, how will Davis handle playing quarterback an entire season?

No matter what position Davis is playing, we expect him to play a big part in the Bulldogs’ fortunes this season, which is why we selected him as one of our top 10 impact athletes from the area heading into this season.

From now until opening night — this Friday, for those not paying attention — local fans can tune in to see who will make up the remaining list of our area’s standout athletes. Some will be looking to build on a strong season in 2012. Others will be aiming to come back from an injury that cut last fall short. At least one may have flown under the radar a bit.

Whether it’s Davis or another one of our preseason impact athletes, these players will be worth watching as the season goes on. Barring injury, we expect a big year out of all of them.

Friday, don’t forget to pick up your copy of this season’s Natchez Democrat football magazine, complete with schedules, team photos and information on which players the coaches expect to build their offenses and defenses around.

See you each Friday night!