Natchez looks for payback

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 1, 2000

It’s payback time.

That’s the attitude of the Natchez High School Bulldogs as they host Gulfport at 7:30 p.m.

Although Gulfport hammered the ‘Dogs 61-0 last year, Natchez is coming off a 34-0 win versus Jefferson County at home last Friday. Added to that, Gulfport lost 21-10 to Laurel in its season opener.

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But Natchez head coach Elbert &uot;Mo&uot; Lyles said he knows how dangerous Gulfport can be. Gulfport was ranked 16th in the state before losing to Laurel, another Top 20 team.

&uot;This is a big game,&uot; he said. &uot;Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as big as a district game, but to beat a team of that quality would definitely be a motivator. It would be a big plus for the program.

&uot;They’re going to come at us,&uot; he said. &uot;I hope our seniors can step up and accept that challenge.&uot;

A large number of seniors is one advantage Natchez has over the relatively young Gulfport team, Lyles said.

&uot;We’re a much more mature football team,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s going to be a key.&uot;

Another key to the game will be the Bulldog defensive line stopping Gulfport’s Wing-T offense, Lyles said.

&uot;They use a lot of misdirection and speed, and they mix it up,&uot; he said. &uot;If we can contain them, we’ll have success in the game.&uot;

The hardest Gulfport player to contain will undoubtedly be senior running back Charles Hall, Lyles said.

&uot;He also runs on they’re 400-meter relay team in track. He’s got tremendous speed,&uot; he said.

Practice has been hard and hot this week, Lyles said, but he is satisfied with his squad’s effort.

&uot;It hasn’t been as good as you’d want, but in this heat, you can’t complain too much,&uot; he said.