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Cathedral making changes for game

NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School head coach Ron Rushing takes all the blame for what he said wasn’t a “good product” on the field against St. Aloysius last Friday.

Rushing said his players played hard in a 17-14 win against the Flashes, but he felt like the team could have performed better, for which he assumes responsibility.

“If you go back, I was more disappointed in myself for not having them prepared,” Rushing said.

Because of that, Rushing said he’s put his team through a lot of conditioning drills this week in anticipation of their Friday night home matchup against St. Joseph Catholic School out of Madison.

“We’ve really picked up running this week and talked more about hydrating ourselves before the game,” Rushing said. “We’re concentrating on us right now.”

And so far, Rushing said he’s impressed with how his team has responded.

“They’ve responded like a championship team does,” Rushing said. “Guys have stepped up and started showing some leadership.”

With a tough conference schedule coming up, Rushing said he was happy to play a team like Madison-St. Joseph, which will help condition his players for those regional games.

“Getting those four quarters in will help them get into shape, instead of just having your starters play the first few quarters (in a blowout),” Rushing said. “The first part of district is brutal for us, so we wanted to get them ready for that.”

Class 2A Madison-St. Joseph is 24-3 within the past two seasons, and Rushing said the team is well-coached and deep at every position.

“We’re really going to have to play well to compete with them,” he said.

Better execution and cutting down on interceptions will be critical for the Green Wave (1-0), Rushing said, as Cathedral threw four picks last week against St. Al.

“The biggest thing is having them better prepared, and we’ll be prepared this week,” Rushing said.

Cathedral suffered a couple of injuries last week, the most serious of which was losing freshman running back/linebacker Jae Eidt for the seasons because of a broken humerus. Christian Jenkins is out two to four weeks with a shoulder injury. Several other players cramped up during the course of the game. Receiver Ishmael Blackmon, who tweaked his hamstring in the team’s jamboree game against Wilkinson County Christian Academy two weeks ago, will be back.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday night.