Reed to coach all-star game

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NATCHEZ — Just weeks before summer practices start for the Natchez High football team, three former Bulldogs will already be playing on the gridiron.

And Natchez High coach Lance Reed will be on the sidelines for the game.

Reed is an assistant coach for the south team in the 60th Annual Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic, and Keith Dee, Rico Richardson and Ernest Jones will be playing in the game.

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Franklin County running back/linebacker Jordan Hunt will also participate in the game.

Reed was selected earlier this spring by the Mississippi Association of Coaches, and his players — current seniors who will graduate in May — were selected from a list he submitted following the Bulldogs’ season.

“All the coaches throughout the state nominate players, and there’s a selection committee,” Reed said. “The coaches they select go in and select players from those lists.”

The game will be played at Mississippi College in Clinton on Thursday, July 16.

There will also be a coaching clinic in Jackson that week, but Reed’s time will be dedicated to the all-star game. The players report for practice July 13.

“We’ve actually been practicing already,” Reed said. “We’ve met twice on Sundays this spring. The guys have met up in Hattiesburg.”

Reed said he has nominated players every year since he began coaching at Natchez High in 2004, but this is the first year any of his Bulldogs have been selected.

The Bulldogs made the playoffs for the first time in 11 years and defeated Petal 25-21 in the first round, which may be why three Natchez players were picked.

“It’s an opportunity to bring recognition to our school and our community, and that recognition is a great honor,” Reed said. “To have the year that we had and then to get three guys able to play in this game, we’re proud of that.”

Lineman Dee said he is excited for the opportunity to play in the all-star game because of the publicity it will bring his school.

And to have not just one player selected — but three — is an even bigger honor.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for scouts to start coming down to Natchez High and recruiting players,” Dee said. “Doing well in these games should show them that we’ve got something down here and bring them down to start looking at us.”

The game will be played under the hot summer sun, but Dee said Reed’s summer practices, where they’ve woken up at 6 a.m. and worked out in the day’s heat, have prepared him for the test.

And having so many local names in the game may bring the Bulldogs added support in the game.

“We can do good in the game knowing that we’ll probably have fans there, since there will be so many of us from here.”