Dogs edge Green Wave

Published 12:34 am Sunday, January 13, 2008

NATCHEZ — Natchez High head coach Dennis Hogue was so confident that the Bulldogs’ game against Cathedral would go to a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation, that he had his line-up ready for a shootout.

But Ross Smith made sure that wouldn’t be the case as he scored on a breakaway goal with just 10 minutes remaining in the second half to give Natchez High a 1-0 win over the Green Wave Saturday afternoon at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium as the Bulldogs improved to 9-3-1 on the season.

Cathedral sophomore defender Caleb Johnson, who played solid defense on both Smith and Kent Calvitt throughout the game, was unable to stay with Smith. Then the only person left between Smith and his 35th goal of the season was Green Wave goalkeeper Jesse Morrison. Smith got the ball past Morrison and into the net for the game’s only goal.

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“We talked about this game all week, even though we had other games,” Hogue said. “This is our favorite game of the year. I was real impressed with Cathedral. Natchez’s boys answered. We broke the ‘Cathedral curse’. This is the first time we’ve beat them at home since I’ve been coaching here. We both had our strategies. Both defenses played well.”

Not only were both teams’ defenses outstanding, but so was effort of Natchez High goalkeeper George Bates as well as Morrison. Each goalkeeper kept their teams in the ball game with several outstanding saves.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the game was that neither Smith nor Calvit got many scoring opportunities, especially in the first half. Cathedral (7-5) did an good job of double-teaming Smith in the first half. However, the Green Wave couldn’t take advantage of its scoring opportunities as the first 40 minutes ended in a 0-0 tie.

“We played good. We gave up that cheap goal,” Cathedral head coach Rick Simons said. “Our defense played well. Our midfielders and offense have a lot to work on. Dennis and Ross are both good friends of mine, so we’ll get them back Tuesday night. Ross scored three goals (Friday) night, but we weren’t going to let him score three goals on us.”

Natchez High girls 2, Cathedral 0

NATCHEZ — The varsity girls game was also a defensive battle for much of the game that also saw outstanding goalkeeping by the Lady Bulldogs’ Triyonna Green and the Lady Green Wave’s Lissa McManus.

This game also appeared headed to overtime until Jadtrl “J.J.” Heard scored nearly halfway through the second half and then added another goal later in the half to lead Natchez High past Cathedral to improve to 4-7.

On Heard’s second goal, McManus tried to come out from the goal and make the save. Just as Heard went to kick the ball, she and McManus collided, and somehow the ball went into the goal for a 2-0 Lady Bulldogs lead. McManus got up on her own power, but she had to leave the game and was replaced by Lacy Hall.

“I’m glad that J.J. didn’t back off and I’m sure David’s proud of his goalie for not backing off,” Lady Bulldogs head coach Lena Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough also said that Green played her best game of the year as she making save after save to keep Cathedral (7-3) off the scoreboard. She also praised her team’s defense for the job it did shutting down Cathedral’s passing game.

“Huge kudos to my defense. They went out there and fought hard,” Yarbrough said. “My girls playing tight man-to-man defense helped out.”

Lady Green Wave head coach David Gaudé, on the other hand, wasn’t too pleased with his team’s effort during the game.

“We had a few lapses in defense. We didn’t get it in the goal and that’s what matters in the end,” Gaudé said. “Natchez High played a good game. When you don’t score, you don’t win.”