Area public schools have good second week

Published 1:27 am Monday, September 3, 2007

NATCHEZ — It was a good week for most of the area’s public high school football teams Friday night. It was an especially good one for Jefferson County, which defeated Natchez High 30-27.

The Bulldogs suffered a key injury when Rico Richards went down with a wrist injury and is questionable for Friday night’s home game against Gulfport. Head coach Lance Reed was not pleased with his team’s performance, especially in the second half.

“We played undisciplined football,” Reed said. “We had numerous penalties that cost us and put us in bad situations. We’re going to have to learn to play more disciplined.”

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Reed also gave credit to Jefferson County for the way the Tigers rallied in the second half after trailing 19-6 at halftime.

“I think they did a good job using their quarterback (Percy Turner),” Reed said. “Spreading us out and using his running ability. That put us in a bind. They came in with a plan and they were the best team (Friday) night. Defensively, we made some good plays. But when it counts, you have to close the deal.”

The Tigers got out of the game with no major injuries, but Myron Young suffered a contusion to his shin. Jefferson County head coach James Herrington said Young is day-to-day, but he should be ready to play Friday night against Port Gibson.

Herrington said that a lot of the plays his team ran in the second half, they ran in the first half. The Tigers just happened to execute on offense better after halftime.

“Defense tackled better. Ends played more disciplined. Offensive line blocked well all night,” Herrington said. “Our quarterback threw some short passes to set up the long passes. I feel like we were a better conditioned ball club than Natchez.”

Herrington added that he could only imagine what Natchez High’s defense was thinking when the Tigers were moving the ball, and moving it effectively, through the air. In one drive, Turner went 6-for-6 and the Tigers stuck with.

Cathedral didn’t have the luxury of being injury-free. Far from it, as a matter of fact.

“We had four starters not dress out — Cole Junkin, Jeb White, Kenny Watson and William Wilson,” Green Wave head coach Craig Beesley said. “Five minutes into the game, both of our running backs, Daniel Culbert (twisted ankle – week to week) and Jamerson Jones (twisted knee and ankle), were out. Then in the third quarter, Skylar Bacon went out with a stretched muscle. He’ll be back by next week.”

Beesley said the guys that went in the game did a good job. “They stepped up and played hard for us.”

Dexter scored its 21 points in the first half with a balanced offense. The Bulldogs were nearly 50-50 running and throwing the ball. “They have some good skill position players. We had trouble making the plays early in the game,” Beesley said. Cathedral had a good opportunity to make the game even more interesting in the second half.

“We had back down at the 4-yard line late in the third quarter. We went for a fake field goal, but we didn’t convert. That put us back in the hole again. We got inside the 30, but we never did threaten. Dexter caught their second wind in the fourth quarter.”

Even though Vidalia won its home opener over Block 14-6, it wasn’t easy. The Vikings scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes to escape with a victory over the Bears. Vidalia also fumbled the ball 10 times and lost nearly half of them

“We struggled mightily. Two of our running backs, Jeremy Randall and LaMack Bates, have been out all week with ankle sprains. That didn’t help us any,” Vikings head coach Dee Fairlcoth said. “Our timing was off. We just weren’t in sync. Block played a super game. They were hitting on all cylinders.”

Faircloth added that Block head coach Benny Vault Jr. has the Bears going in the right direction. “Benny has an outstanding coaching staff. They have a real young team. The future looks bright for them. They’re going to be on the upturn real shortly. Emilo Tesei’s probably the best coach they’ve had in the last 30 years. Benny was part of that.”

By holding Block to just six points, Vidalia’s defense was what kept the Vikings in the ball game, Faircloth noted.

“They had to,” he said. “We gave up the first score because of mental mistakes. Lining up offsides. We had to stop them several times inside the 30-yard line to keep us within range of winning the ball game. The fact that we fumbled, that kills a drive.

Vidalia had no injuries during the game. “Randall wasn’t running full speed. Bates was the one I didn’t think would play very much. But he played defense and scored our last touchdown. We’re going to have games like that where you’re fortunate to win the game. It was gut-check time for them.”

Wilkinson County lost to Class 4A Greenwood 12-0, but Wildcats head coach John Moore was pleased with the way his team played, especially on defense.

“We moved the ball, but we stalled most of the time,” Moore said. “One of our running backs, Deyond Simmons, ran the ball well. We did a real good job defensively. Our leading defensive player was Dejae Miles, who had 12 tackles.”

Too other players played well for Wilkinson County — John Moore III, who had 11 tackles, and Trevis Brown, who finished with eight tackles, two sacks, and one fumble recovery.

“I thing we played decent in spots,” coach Moore said. “Hopefully, we’ll get things going next week.”