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Natchez High finds redemption in homecoming win

Natchez High School junior quarterback Anthony Robinson carries the ball downfield past South Jones High School defenders at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium Friday night. Natchez won, 67-7. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Natchez High School junior quarterback Anthony Robinson carries the ball downfield past South Jones High School defenders at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium Friday night. Natchez won, 67-7. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School couldn’t pull off the shutout Friday night, but head coach Lance Reed said he’ll settle for the 67-7 drubbing the Bulldogs unleashed on South Jones High School for homecoming.

“We’re always reaching for a shutout,” Reed said. “We didn’t get it, but we’ll keep getting better.”

Natchez got off to a quick start as Anthony Robinson connected with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Malik Byrd, and there was no slowing the Bulldogs down once Nehemiah Ford made the extra-point kick.

Robinson got his passing game going early as he connected with Earon Brown on a 5-yard pass to make it 14-0 at the 6:59 mark of the first quarter.

Natchez High School junior running back John Ferguson looks for space to run against South Jones High School at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium Friday night. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Natchez High School junior running back John Ferguson looks for space to run against South Jones High School at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium Friday night. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)

Robinson completed 14 of 17 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns while adding 130 rushing yards. Lee Jackson added 95 yards on an interception, and John Ferguson had 71 yards and two touchdowns.

Reed said Robinson showed leadership Friday after a stellar performance.

“He made some good decisions, and he was a little more aggressive,” he said. “We expect him to lead our offense.”

The Bulldogs then started to keep the ball on the ground as Dalvion Jackson scored a 4-yard touchdown run, but the extra-point attempt was blocked.

At the 2:50 mark in the first, Christopher Crocket pulled in an interception right on the sideline and returned it for 30 yards. Jackson later scored his second touchdown of the night on a 1-yard carry to give Natchez a 27-0 lead at the end of the first.

The Bulldogs didn’t let up in the second quarter as they scored three more touchdowns, two of which came from John Ferguson with 4-yard and 44-yard touchdown runs, respectively.

Malik Byrd scored the last touchdown of the half on a 56-yard pass from Robinson to send the Bulldogs to the locker room with a 47-0 lead.

The third quarter was a duplicate of the second as the Bulldogs scored three more touchdowns.

Natchez came right at the Braves with a 21-yard touchdown by Robinson. After the Bulldogs forced a turnover on fourth down, Tydarrius Terrell scored on the first play of the drive with a 69-yard rush to jump the lead to 60-0.

The Bulldogs had one more touchdown in them when it seemed like the Braves would get their first score of the game. South Jones made it into the red zone for the first time at the 10:09 mark of the third quarter, but Braves quarterback Ethan Laird threw an interception right to the waiting Lee Jackson at the 5-yard line as he returned it 95 yards for the score.

Down 67-0, South Jones saw the end zone for the first time at the 3:18 mark of the fourth quarter when LaShawn Kelly scored an 11-yard touchdown.

Reed said Natchez was hungry for the victory after dropping the last three games, and he said he was happy that win came on homecoming night.

“We needed a victory, so I’m pleased with that,” Reed said. “We still made a lot of mistakes, and we have to correct them.”

Reed said he wasn’t shocked by the 60-point victory because it’s what he expects from his players, and he said they must bring that same intensity, minus the 10 penalties, to next week’s game against Laurel High School.

“They did what they’re supposed to do,” he said. “We’re an improving team, and we just have to get ready for Laurel now.”

Natchez (3-4, 1-2) plays Laurel High School away at 7 p.m. Friday, while South Jones (1-6, 0-3) will host Brookhaven next week.