Cathedral, Natchez get back in scoring grooves with wins
By MICHAEL KEREKES & Reina Kempt
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — After a tough 20-19 loss to Lumberton High School the week before, Cathedral High School (6-2, 4-2) re-established it’s big-scoring reputation with a 40-17 win against Sacred Heart Friday.
The Green Wave took a 40-7 at the half, and Cathedral was able to play a lot of backups in the third and fourth quarters, something head coach Ron Rushing said would be important for his team going forward.
“We lost about five junior high games, and we try to get them in as much as we can, we’ve just had some close games (recently),” Rushing said. “I told them, ‘I want you to go out there, and I don’t want it to be where we’re just running plays — I want to run our offense and get better.’”
The Cathedral players donned pink jerseys Friday for the team’s annual Pink Wave Project, which helps raise money in the fight against cancer. The players had the name of a family member or friend who fought or is currently fighting cancer on the back of their jerseys, and Cathedral wide receiver Ishmael Blackmon said it was special for him to don the pink Friday.
“I did it in memory of my grandfather, Lee Tyms, so I said before I came out here that I would play this game for him,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon, who finished the game with five catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns, also said he was happy to see the younger guys get some playing time.
“We really wanted to let the young guys play in this game, so we knew we had to come out (and do well),” Blackmon said after the game. “The young guys were pushing us this week in practice, because they wanted to play.”
With the Cathedral defense limiting Sacred Heart to just 17 points, Blackmon said it was important to help build the defense’s confidence going forward.
“We know we can depend on them in the future, and we’re going to need the defense to come through in the game,” Blackmon said. “That makes us feel really good.”
Green Wave fans might have noticed Rushing being absent from the sideline in the first half. Rushing opted to spend the first half in the press box in hopes that it would give him a better view of the game when calling plays, he said. He returned to the sideline in the second half.
“It’s something we’re toying with,” Rushing said. “You can see absolutely great up there. It cuts out some communication (issues) when I’m asking coaches what’s going on, so it goes back to having as good a staff as we do, where I can turn the sidelines over and the coaches do their job.”
Cathedral will play at Oak Forest Academy Friday.
Natchez High School
NATCHEZ — Natchez High School (3-4, 1-2) bounced back at homecoming with a 67-7 pounding to South Jones High School after losing their last three games.
Anthony Robinson completed 11 of 12 passes for three touchdowns and 124 yards while adding 130 rushing yards.
Several players got in on the scoring action for NHS, as John Ferguson scored two touchdowns, Malik Byrd scored two more, and Robinson, Tydarrius Terrell and Dalvion Jackson each scored a touchdown.
Ferguson said a 60-point victory shows the team has made progress, but they still have a long way to go as they have a strong Laurel High School team to battle against Friday.
“(The shutout on homecoming) means a lot to us, but we have to focus on Laurel, because they’re a good team,” Ferguson said.
When it comes to his own game, Ferguson said he was pleased with his two-touchdown, 71-yard rushing game, but he said he still must get better at executing the little things.
“I think I did pretty good, but I still could do better on my pass protection,” he said.
In order for the team to get better and get a winning streak going against Laurel, Ferguson said they must not get content with their South Jones victory and work hard this week in practice.
“We have to focus in on offense and defense and work hard in practice to get another win,” he said.
Head coach Lance Reed emphasized to his team that they’re still having problems with penalties, as the Bulldogs drew 10 flags for minus 100 yards, with the majority of the penalties being holding and pass interference calls.
Reed said discipline is something they must work at if they want to do well in district.
Natchez High School plays Laurel away at 7 p.m. Friday.