Bullogs lose war in nail-biter with Gulfport

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2000

A last-minute Gulfport touchdown was the difference, as Natchez (1-1) lost a nail-biter Friday 34-27.

A short punt gave the Admirals (1-1) the ball on the Natchez 23-yard line with 1:11 left in the game. Charles Hall ran in the score on the very next play.

&uot;I feel like we should have won it,&uot; said Natchez head coach Elbert &uot;Mo&uot; Lyles. &uot;They wanted it, but we came up short in the last minute of the game.&uot;

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Gulfport jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, a stark reminder of last year’s 61-0 Admiral victory.

The momentum changed quickly, however, when Bulldog quarterback Donald Butler hit wide receiver Edwin Skipper for an 85-yard touchdown with 54 seconds left in the first quarter.

A blocked punt gave Natchez the ball on the Gulfport 36-yard line in the second period. Bulldog fullback Christopher McDonald rumbled in from 1 yard out to tie the game.

Gulfport had a chance to take back the lead late in the second quarter with a field goal from the Natchez 22-yard line.

However, a delay of game penalty drove the Admirals back to the 27, and junior defensive lineman Derek Jarvis was able to break through the Gulfport line and deflect the kick.

The Admirals exploded out of the gate in the third quarter, turning five runs into a 69-yard drive that culminated in a Josh Johnson touchdown from 12 yards out.

Natchez answered with an 80-yard drive and a 7-yard Roderick Conner touchdown. Natchez missed the extra point, however, making the score 21-20 in Gulfport’s favor.

Natchez and Gulfport then traded touchdowns,with Gulfport missing a point after attempt due to a bad snap.

The score was tied 27-27 going into the fourth quarter.

Butler threw 8-23-0 for 157 yards and a touchdown, while Gulfport quarterback Darrell Arwood was only 3-5-0 for 65 yards and no touchdowns.

Gulfport’s strength was its running game.

Tacaris Crosby had 138 yards on 20 carries, Hall had 101 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, and Josh Johnson added 116 yards and two touchdowns on nine attempts.

Conner led the Bulldogs in rushing, earning 117 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Skipper was Natchez’s leading receiver, catching three balls for 114 yards and a touchdown.