Four solid quarters still eluding Natchez High

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

Emotions may have never risen so high for Natchez High’s Bulldogs in quite some time.

That’s because everyone’s looking for that right moment &045; that one turning point, if there is one &045; that signals a new day for the Bulldogs and not the old that featured second halves with the opposing team’s junior varsity squads.

The moment C.J. Wright scooped up a fumble in the third quarter Friday night against Meridian and nearly got into the end zone &045; all of a sudden they were in a game.

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The Bulldogs punched it in two plays later to cut the lead to 23-13. But three plays after that standout running back Cordera Eason found the end zone and ended the momentum en route to the Wildcats’ 36-13 win in the Region 3-5A opener for both teams.

&uot;We had everybody going and pumped,&uot; NHS safety SeMel Washington said. &uot;We’re playing in spurts. We just lost our focus out there. We’ve got to come here to play four quarters of football and be consistent. Everybody wants it, and we’ve just got to do it.&uot;

It would be a stretch to say the Bulldogs had Meridian on the ropes, but at that point things were going their way. The defense had trouble wrapping up Eason and fellow back Cedrick Blanks, but at that point the Bulldogs hit Eason at the line of scrimmage and forced the fumble.

That was a rare occasion Friday night with Eason’s ability to hit the hole and the Wildcats’ huge offensive line that opened up holes big enough to be mistaken for an entrance on the Natchez Trace.

&uot;We didn’t play as well as we would have liked,&uot; Meridian head coach Ed Stanley said. &uot;It was well enough to win and get our first division win. They’ve got a lot of big, fast football players. They’ve got a lot of capability of being a good football team, and they’ve got a lot of good players. We’re happy to come away with the win and no serious injuries.&uot;

The Bulldogs had life left in them following the score before a big turnover may have just derailed the entire operation. The offense got down to the MHS 18 on the following drive when Jason Bruce rolled out to his right trying to get inside the 15, but he lost the ball just before the sideline without a teammate nearby to recover.

Instead, Roshad Byrd picked up and ran 81 yards for a touchdown in what ultimately broke the game open.

And things south in a hurry for the Bulldogs &045; two interceptions over a five-play span.

&uot;Jason is a playmaker,&uot; Reed said. &uot;Sometimes they’re for the better, but that instance he lost the ball. When they got the turnover, it was a momentum swing for them. We saw a bit of light, but they kind of shut the light off on us a little bit.

&uot;There were opportunities (in the first half), and we just couldn’t make plays. A lot of things in our offense we didn’t do well. There were plays we could have made and probably should have made. We’ve got to do a better job of taking what’s given to us from an offensive standpoint.&uot;

EASON WATCH &045; If you were at Natchez High Friday night and wondering which colleges are interested in Eason, try a different approach.

Ask him who isn’t. They’re calling almost every night.

&uot;I’ve heard from almost every college in the SEC,&uot; Eason said. &uot;I’ll probably (announce) on signing day. I haven’t decided yet. My family has been thinking about it. I just haven’t decided yet.&uot;

DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? &045; As the Adams County Christian Rebels gathered for an on-field pep talk after Friday’s 40-10 loss to Oak Forest, two prominent team members were getting medical attention.

Lineman James Sullivan suffered an apparent knee injury in the second half, and he left the field with an icebag taped to his knee.

&uot;He’s our best offensive linemen and one of our best defensive linemen,&uot; ACCS coach Bobby Marks said. &uot;We hope it’s not serious.&uot;

Running back Lee Dellinger also suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, and it was also iced after the game. Dellinger’s injury didn’t appear as serious as Sullivan’s. They’re hoping the two won’t be added to a growing list of walking wounded.

NOT AGAIN &045; Realignment didn’t help Cathedral any. When Mize and St. Aloysius left the region for Mercy Cross and St. John, the Green Wave may have hoped for a new scheduling format to get away from the past two seasons of playing the two best teams in consecutive weeks.

Not so. When Mize got out, coaches put St. John in its place. That puts the Green Wave preparing for Mount Olive this week after losing 33-0 Saturday to St. John.

&uot;We’ve been playing the same schedule the last four years, and we’ll have them back to back next year,&uot; CHS head coach Ken Beesley Sr. said. &uot;But Bogue Chitto plays Mount Olive before they play us, and a lot of times they get banged up before they play us. We’re the only school that plays them back to back. If we can be 3-2 at the end of our first five games, we have a chance at having a good year.&uot;

OLD ACQUAINTANCES &045; Credit Centreville Academy’s youthful bunch and veteran coaching staff in Friday’s win over Trinity Episcopal.

The Tigers contained Trinity’s offense and pulled off the win in Natchez in a game pitting Saints head coach David King against veteran CA leader Bill Hurst and his staff.

It was the second game King was able to go against two experienced coaches in the association he can refer to as mentors &045; Hurst and Adams Christian head coach Bobby Marks.

&uot;It’s exciting for me to coach against him,&uot; Kind said of Hurst. &uot;It’s been a fun year to coach against my old coach, who I love dearly, and coaching against someone like Coach Hurst. It’s fun for a young coach to have those kinds of experiences.&uot;

Josh Bean contributed to this report.