Jim Hill to test Bulldogs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — When you shut out a team to the tune of 63 points last season, it’s hard not to think things will be that easy again.

But Natchez coach Lance Reed has a warning for his Bulldogs this week — Jim Hill High is not the same team this season.

“We caught them when they were a little down last year, but they definitely will be tough this year. They’re a solid team, they’re 2-1 in Region (3-5A) play. So they’ve got a lot to play for.”

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The Tigers took games against Terry and Wingfield to open region play, and with an 34-0 loss to Hattiesburg, sit just ahead of Natchez at fifth in the 3-5A standings.

The Bulldogs are looking up following a 41-28 win against Brandon this past Friday.

But despite 166 yards on 11-of-23 passes by Javon Washington, and three carries for 80 yards and a score by Rico Richardson, Reed thinks his team can do better.

“We still haven’t reached our potential,” he said. “Every week we’re striving to play a perfect game. We’re working on playing a complete four quarters. I know it sounds cliché, but we’re still not playing a complete game.”

Reed said the Bulldogs do a good job of playing well when they have a solid lead, but when the game is close, or if they are trailing, they will usually let it slip away.

“We’re still learning how to play to keep our momentum when we’re ahead and how to get the momentum going back on our way when we’re behind,” he said.

Including Hill, Natchez has four district games to end the season. The Bulldogs have to win three of them to reach the playoffs.

This week in practice, Natchez will work on controlling the speed of some very good Hill receivers, players the Bulldogs did not see last season.

“They’re a spread team,” he said. “They have a lot of speed, and they try to utilize their big, fast receivers on the offensive side of the ball.”