Bulldogs can’t stage comeback

Published 1:24 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

NATCHEZ — This time, the comeback fell just short.

One week after coming back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter against Terry, the Natchez Bulldogs found that a 20-point deficit was just too much to overcome in a 41-34 loss to Wingfield.

The Bulldogs (5-5, 3-3 Region 3-5A) found themselves down 41-21 with 6 minutes remaining after Pete Bolea scampered 14 yards four a touchdown for the Falcons.

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However, with a playoff berth on the line, Natchez would begin a furious comeback.

It began on the Bulldogs’ next possession. It took Natchez only 59 seconds to go 65 yards for a touchdown.

The drive was capped off when quarterback Javon Washington found Rico Richardson in the corner of the end zone from 6 yards out.

After holding Wingfield (5-5, 3-3) to 3-and-out and forcing a punt, it took Natchez only 47 seconds to travel 69 yards. That drive was capped off when Washington hit Thomas Hughes on a screen pass that Hughes turned into a 55-yard score with 2:15 remaining in the game.

After another Wingfield three-and out and poor punt, the Bulldogs got the ball back on their own 48-yard line with 1:07 remaining.

Two passes, a run and an offside penalty put the ball at the 13-yard line with eight seconds left, but Washington was intercepted by linebacker Trey Devine at the 5-yard line to end the game.

Washington finished the game 22-for-37 for a career-hith 306 yards and three touchdowns but also threw three interceptions.

“You can’t play good teams in that fashion where you’re down and fighting back but that’s the situation we were in,” Natchez coach Lance Reed said. “If we had come back it would have been a heck of an effort, but that wasn’t the case tonight.”

Wingfield coach Todd McDaniel said he was just waiting for the comeback to begin.

“I kind of felt it coming on. I’ve seen it happen before when a team gets down when one of your emotional leaders goes down late in the game. We almost squandered a 20-point lead. But the kids kept fighting and never gave up. I guess we were the better team tonight.”

Wingfield was certainly the better team for the first three and a half quarters.

The Falcons threw only two passes in the game, but didn’t need to as they ground the ball with tailback Pete Bolela.

Bolela had 202 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns before suffering an apparent concussion late in the fourth quarter and leaving the field in an ambulance.

“We coached tackling all week, and I’m disappointed in how we tackled,” Reed said. “Give credit to Wingfield, they run the ball hard and have a good running game. They play physical. That was the part of us having to step up on our side. Give credit to them. They’re a good football team.”

Natchez could have clinched a playoff berth with a win, but instead will need to win on the road against Hattiesburg next week and get some help.

“It was a matter of us taking care of business tonight and we didn’t do it,” Reed said. “Now we have to go win a game and hope that this happens and that happens and all this. That’s the situation we’re in.”