Bulldogs hope to be ‘Roc’ steady

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2000

Natchez High head football coach Elbert &uot;Mo&uot; Lyles hopes his team is as steady as a rock this year after two straight losing seasons.

He’ll be counting on a &uot;Roc&uot; for that stability.

Natchez senior Roderick &uot;Roc&uot; Conner returns this year after rushing for 601 yards on 113 carries last year.

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&uot;He (Conner) is definitely going to be a factor to our season,&uot; Lyles said. &uot;Right now he’s the only kid who will be taking snaps on both sides of the ball at running back and cornerback. He also will be returning kicks. He’s very valuable. And he had a good summer and good camp. He has been really focused in practices.&uot;

Conner, who got the nickname &uot;Roc&uot; from his uncle when he was much younger, said Natchez High fans will see a big difference in this year’s team.

&uot;It’s going to be very different,&uot; he said. &uot;This team is a lot more confident. Everybody really worked hard during the off-season.&uot;

Conner knows he will be counted on more now that he is a senior.

&uot;I feel like more of a leader,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve worked harder because I&160;know the underclassmen are looking up to me. I’ve worked harder and been more dedicated. And we have more experience this year.&uot;

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Conner has received several inquiries from colleges around the nation.

&uot;I haven’t really thought about where I might want to go,&uot; he said.

Besides running the ball, Conner is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield.

&uot;I hope to run and catch the ball more this year,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ll do whatever takes on either side of the ball to help us win.&uot;

Natchez finished 2-9 last year, defeating Forest Hill in the final game of the year.

&uot;I thought we played well near the end of the season,&uot; Conner said. &uot;This year we have to come out and play hard from the start.&uot;

Conner said he has made a goal of rushing for 1,000 yards.

&uot;I feel like if I am playing my best, then the rest of the team is playing their best,&uot; he said.

Conner said a third straight losing season would be very disappointing.

&uot;But I don’t see that happening,&uot; he said.