Buckles&8217; goal stands up as Natchez tops Cathedral

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Natchez coach Dennis Hogue turned to a unique motivational tactic to prepare his team for its showdown with crosstown rival Cathedral.

Hogue printed dozens of fliers proclaiming the Natchez boys and girls soccer programs as district champs, and he posted them around the school Monday night.

&8220;I put them on every door I could find &8212; bathroom doors, everywhere,&8221; Hogue said.

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For good measure, Hogue even posted a few near the gate of D&8217;Evereux Stadium to remind his team &8212; and the Cathedral faithful &8212; that the Bulldogs have an improved team.

The motivational ploy worked.

Natchez&8217;s Jeremy Buckles scored the game&8217;s only goal with 13:50 remaining Monday night as the Bulldogs earned a 1-0 victory.

&8220;I told the guys before the game that we had already won the district championship, but this is a different game,&8221; Hogue said. &8220;We couldn&8217;t let them manhandle us. We had to play like district champs.&8221;

The victory gives Natchez (9-5-1) a split of two games this season against Cathedral and provides a needed dose of momentum heading into the playoffs. The Bulldogs won&8217;t play again until hosting a first-round game on Tuesday at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium.

For Cathedral, the loss spoiled Senior Night.

&8220;Natchez had a few opportunities, not a lot,&8221; Cathedral coach Rick Freeman said. &8220;They took advantage of theirs.&8221;

In a defensive struggle that was devoid of many scoring changes, Buckles made the most of his best scoring opportunity.

Buckles got the ball on a breakaway and fired a shot to the right of Cathedral goalkeeper Jesse Morrison.

Morrison stopped the initial shot by diving to his right, but the ball squirted away from him. Buckles then corralled the rebound and scored easily.

&8220;It bounced off of him, and all I could think was, &8216;Shoot, shoot,&8217; &8221; Buckles said.

Added Freeman, &8220;As the game went on, I think we both sense that if one of use could slip on by, that might be the game.&8221;

Buckles moved from goalkeeper to forward in the second half, and he combined with Marcus Johnson on the shutout.

Buckles made an acrobatic save in the first half when he stopped Andy Taunton&8217;s shot in the upper left corner of the goal. Cathedral had at least two other prime scoring opportunities, but both sailed harmlessly over the goal.

&8220;This is a big win for us,&8221; Buckles said. &8220;We haven&8217;t beaten them in two years.&8221;

Cathedral dominated the first half, outshooting Natchez 6-2 and controlling the midfield. The Green Wave, however, simply couldn&8217;t convert those chances into goals.