Natchez and Ferriday coaches face each other for first time

Published 12:15 am Friday, September 4, 2009

NATCHEZ — Roughly 16 miles separates Natchez High School from Ferriday High School, so one might think the two football teams would be somewhat familiar with one another.

However, their matchup tonight will be the first time the players and staffs will face off.

Ferriday is set to host Natchez today at 7 p.m. Bulldogs center Kevochie Pollard said the only thing NSH knows about Ferriday is what kind of effort they’ll give.

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“We know next to nothing about them,” Pollard said. “But we know they will play hard.”

That unfamiliarity doesn’t extend to the head coaches, however. Ferriday’s Freddie Harrison and Natchez’s Lance Reed both said they’ve gotten to know each other since Harrison took over at Ferriday three years ago.

“(Natchez has) a good coach in Coach Reed,” Harrison said. “He’s a friend of mine.”

Reed was also complementary toward Harrison.

“We talk to each other on a regular basis,” Reed said. “I root for (Ferriday) every time they play, so this will be the first time I don’t root for them.”

Harrison said his team would have to be ready for the talent and speed that Natchez will bring to the table.

“They have a high-powered offense and a good, aggressive defense,” Harrison said.

Natchez will be playing in its third game of the season, but tonight marks Ferriday’s season opener. Harrison said his team would have to overcome the fact that Natchez has had almost twice the amount of practice time to prepare for tonight’s game.

“We’ve only had about 20 practices to their 40,” Harrison said. “You overcome that by making sure you don’t make mistakes, especially with the kind of seasoned club they have. They can easily capitalize on those mistakes.”

Tonight’s game will finally provide an opportunity for Harrison to see the production his special teams unit will get. Since Ferriday’s playing time in the Vidalia Jamboree was cut short by lightning, he said he has yet to get a live-action look at them.

“We don’t want to waste any turnovers that we get,” Harrison said. “We’d like to see who’s able to sub in for who and produce.”

As important as the opening game is to Harrison, he said he’s not going to hang his hat on one game.

“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish,” Harrison said. “We just have to make sure we have a solid foundation and do everything we need to the right way.”

As for Natchez, Reed said his team has a fairly decent week of practice, and hopes it will show tonight.

“Ferriday is well-disciplined and have a lot of speed,” Reed said. “We want to make sure we can neutralize that.”