Natchez comes from behind to win

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; As the final minute ticked off the clock, the Natchez High School band played the song &8220;Crazy,&8221; and crazy was the only way to describe the Bulldogs&8217; 41-35 come-from-behind victory over Franklin County.

Crazy &8212; as in the performance of senior quarterback Jason Bruce, who celebrated his 18th birthday in style with 340 yards passing, 144 yards rushing, six touchdowns and one hard-fought win.

Crazy &8212; as in the amount of heart displayed by the Bulldogs in overcoming a 21-point deficit and scoring 27 points in the second quarter.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;I&8217;m very proud of them,&8221; coach Lance Reed said. &8220;I knew they had that kind of fight in them, but I hadn&8217;t seen it on the field. Tonight we saw it.&8221;

Down 21-0 just a few minutes into the second quarter, it appeared all hope was lost. But in heroic fashion, quarterback Jason Bruce rallied his teammates and led the Bulldogs to four unanswered touchdowns to tie the game at 28 all going into halftime.

&8220;One of my teammates came up to me and said, &8216;Jason, we need you to take this game over,&8217; and that&8217;s what I did,&8221; Bruce said.

As surprising as the come-from-behind win was to everyone in attendance, the leadership of Bruce wasn&8217;t a big surprise to coach Reed.

&8220;He&8217;s our leader,&8221; Reed said. &8220;When it&8217;s crunch time, he&8217;s going to have the ball in his hands.&8221;

No matter what the down or distance Bruce came up with big play after big play, which slowly grinded the will out of Franklin County (3-1).

After connecting with wide receiver Edward Johnson for a 36-yard touchdown pass for the Bulldogs&8217; first score, Bruce showed that there was no way he was coming out a loser on his birthday.

Facing third and 44 yards to get a first down, Bruce took a quarterback keeper 89 yards for the Bulldog&8217;s second score.

Johnson put together a pretty crazy performance of his own, as he was on the receiving end of nine of passes, racking up 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, Terrance Herrington came up with two clutch plays, intercepting one pass and recovering a fumble at the 4-yard line, both of which set up Natchez scores.

&8220;They&8217;re vastly improved. After watching tapes of them from last year we had no idea they were this good,&8221; said Franklin county coach Grady McKlesky. &8220;My hats of to them they played an outstanding game and displayed an amazing amount of confidence in not giving up. This is a team that is playoff-bound, and who&8217;s to say how many rounds deep.&8221;

Natchez lineman Johnny Griffin knows that this year&8217;s is a different team as well.

&8220;This is the new Natchez,&8221; Griffin said as he and his teammates celebrated on the sideline.

Next week Natchez travels to Meridian, where the Bulldogs will face another tough test. Coach Reed was rather tight-lipped about next week&8217;s opponent just stating, &8220;They&8217;re pretty good.&8221;