Natchez kicks off season tonight

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 1999

With one day remaining before opening kickoff, Natchez High head football coach Elbert &uot;Mo&uot; Lyles is like most coaches -&160;he’s wanting to make sure every loose end is tied up.

The Bulldogs host Jefferson County tonight at 7:30 p.m.

&uot;You definitely have to make sure you are ready and have done enough,&uot; Lyles said. &uot;We didn’t want to scrimmage (Wednesday), but we saw some things we needed to look at and some personnel that needed another look. But we didn’t want to get anybody hurt or overdo it. When your first game is two days away, there’s always something that concerns you. Even though you know you feel like you have had good practices, you’re going against an opponent for the first time and you don’t know how the kids are going to respond.&uot;

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Lyles said Jefferson County is an aggressive team which fields a number of seniors.

Natchez opened its season last year with a 16-0 win over the Tigers in a game that had 39 total penalties for 285 yards.

&uot;Jefferson County has a pretty good tailback and some good young players,&uot; Lyles said.

The second-year Bulldog head coach said he believes the contest will be won in the trenches.

&uot;They have a big interior line and we’re inexperienced,&uot; he said. &uot;We don’t have one starter coming back up front, so we’re counting on some young guys stepping up.&uot;

Lyles said it’s going to be important for Natchez to set the momentum early.

&uot;We have got to get out of the chute fast,&uot; he said. &uot;The first series of plays could determine the game. We can’t afford any mistakes. We have to eliminate as many of those as possible.&uot;

Lyles said the Bulldog game plan is pretty basic for the opener.

&uot;We’ll try to keep it simple,&uot; he said. &uot;We don’t want to try and do anymore than we have to at this stage. But we’ll have to try to keep it balanced.&uot;

Once the first game is over, Lyles said the Bulldog coaching staff will have a better idea of where to go with its young squad.

&uot;We have to see how the kids respond for the first time under lights,&uot; he said. &uot;Some can handle the pressure, while some can’t. We need to know who we can count on.&uot;