NHS win doesn’t come; playoffs still will

Published 1:27 am Saturday, November 8, 2008

NATCHEZ — With its first playoff berth in 11 years already secured, Natchez High was looking to gain some momentum by defeating Region 3-5A rival Hattiesburg Friday night.

Not only that, Natchez High as well as Hattiesburg had a lot to play for when the two teams faced each other at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium — the region’s number three and number four seeds on the line.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they couldn’t keep their third-quarter rally going into the fourth quarter and lost to the Tigers 19-15 to finish fourth in Region 3-5A with a 4-3 mark.

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“They were better than we were tonight,” Natchez High head coach Lance Reed said. “They capitalized on our mistakes. We played hard.”

Natchez High (6-4) scored on a safety by Nick Brooks in the first quarter, but still trailed 7-2. The Bulldogs scored 13 points in the third quarter thanks to Brian Isaac’s 90-yard kickoff return to open up the second half and Javon Washington’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Rico Richardson.

However, Natchez High had trouble running the ball on Hattiesburg (8-3, 5-2) and finished with just 53 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs also turned the ball over three times, but Reed added that the Tigers could not take advantage of the turnovers.

Washington was 10-of-20 passing for 164 yards and led the team in rushing with 53 yards on nine carries. Richardson caught five passes for 136 yards.

Natchez High will have the unenviable task of playing at Region 4-1A champion Petal, a team that defeated Hattiesburg earlier in the season, in the first round of the Class 5A South State Playoffs next Friday at 7 p.m.