NHS coming off big loss, Cathedral able to get key win
NATCHEZ — The Bulldogs didn’t exactly get off to the start they wanted in Mississippi High School Activities Association Region 3-5A play, dropping their divisional opener to Wayne County High School, 62-13.
NHS fell behind 35-0 early in the second quarter before a 64-yard touchdown reception by Malik Byrd finally got the Bulldogs on the board with 10:31 left before halftime. Head coach Lance Reed said falling behind by such a large margin can have a negative effect on a team’s morale.
“It affects it a lot,” Reed said. “Morale is important, so this is kind of a character check and a gut check.”
While the War Eagles only tallied 106 yards in the air, they put up big numbers with their running game, garnering a total of 318 yards on the ground.
“It was what we thought (coming in),” Reed said. “They ran inside zone, and we came up and missed tackles, and they knocked us off the ball. We just have to go back and evaluate and see what we can do to fix this thing.”
While there was difficulty finding positives in the Bulldogs’ blowout loss Friday, quarterback Anthony Robinson showed improvement in his second outing of the season. He finished 23 of 42 in passing with 218 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
“I think I did a lot better in my second game than I did in my first game,” Robinson said. “I made a lot of improvements in my passing and reads, so I think I improved, but I have more room for improvement.
When the play broke down, he also showed an ability to scramble — which was a good thing for NHS, as Robinson was under a lot of pressure early in the game.
“(The pressure) didn’t affect me too much, because when I got out of the pocket, I was just looking for open receivers,” Robinson said. “Sometimes I made the throws, sometimes I didn’t.”
The Bulldog coaches also relied on Robinson heavily in the running game, and he led NHS in rushing with 78 yards on 12 attempts.
“I’m pretty confident (running),” Robinson said. “I know I’m pretty fast, and I can make guys miss.”
NHS will play at West Jones High School Friday.
Cathedral High School
Cathedral High School (5-1) made a statement Friday night upsetting top-ranked Stringer High School at their homecoming event.
Thomas Garrity threw for 441 yards with seven touchdowns with Jardarrius Anderson catching three and Ishmael Blackmon catching one.
The Green Wave trailed most of the game until the 6:51 mark in the third quarter where Cathedral completed three touchdowns, two of those to Anderson.
Garrity said he is grateful to have receivers like Anderson and Blackmon to depend on in crunch time.
“I’ve got a couple of playmakers,” he said. “I can throw it anywhere on the field, and they’re going to catch it.”
Anderson said the depth chart at the receiver and running back spots made it easier for him and Garrity to make things come alive in the second half.
“We just got balls up, our players made plays, and that opened up the field,” Anderson said. “They were double teaming until then.”
With the score tied at 55, Christian Jenkins scored his second touchdown for Cathedral with 36.4 seconds remaining, and the Green Wave defense didn’t allow Stringer to get past the 50-yard line to win the game 61-55.
Garrity said he was able to trust his backs to get the score and his defense to step up and make key stops toward the end of the game.
“I knew we had it in us, our seniors have heart, and we had just enough time to drive down there and get it in there,” Garrity said. “I (told the defense) I trust in you, and you trust in me. They said, ‘I got you.’”
Anderson said a win against a team like Stringer was a tremendous confidence booster going into district play and they hope to feed off of it for the rest of the season.
“It’s a big sign that we’re going forward,” he said. “It puts our confidence very high beating the No. 1 team.”
Cathedral returns to the field Friday when it travels to Lumberton High School.