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Local teams work out kinks at Cathedral jamboree

NATCHEZ — After weeks of practicing against each other, preseason football jamborees give teams an opportunity to see how they stack up against live competition.

And at Cathedral on Friday, three local teams found out just what they need to work on before their season-opening games next Friday.

Cathedral, Trinity Episcopal and Wilkinson County Christian participated in the jamboree at Cathedral, with Trinity defeating St. Aloysius 24-0 in the first game and Cathedral knocking off WCCA 22-6 in the nightcap.

Each game consisted of two 12-minute halves with regular clock rules.

Even though his team shut out St. Al by three touchdowns, Trinity coach David King wasn’t exactly impressed with what he saw on the field.

“We just looked like athletically we were very soft,” King said. “I’m not used to coaching a soft bunch. You can’t be soft in the defense we’re trying to run. They moved the ball on us pretty well, but that is correctable. We plan on being much better than we were tonight.”

The first half was scoreless, although Trinity had a big opportunity to score before fumbling the ball on the St. Al 1-yard line.

Trinity finally did get in the end zone one minute into the second half, when Givonni Dent scored on a quarterback draw from 13 yards out.

Daniel Dunaway ran in the two-point conversion.

After recovering a St. Al fumble midway through the half, Trinity scored again when Tip McKenzie took a pitch and raced in from six yards away.

Dunaway once again ran in the two-point conversion which made the score 16-0.

St. Al fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Trinity pounced on the ball, which set up their next touchdown.

Dent fumbled the shotgun snap, but quickly scooped it up and raced untouched 37 yards for the final score.

Dent found Jake Winston for the two-point pass for the final points of the game.

King said his team had a lot of work to do after Friday’s jamboree, but promised they would improve greatly in the weeks to come.

“By November we’ll be a good football team,” King said. “That’s all I know.”

Trinity will open its regular season at home against Prairie View next Friday.

The second game of the night saw Cathedral upend WCCA with some early offensive firepower.

“We’ve got some guys that can do great things with the ball when they get it,” Cathedral coach Ron Rushing said. “I think they showed that tonight.”

Cathedral scored on its opening drive when Brent Gaudé nailed a 27-yard field goal that was set up by a 30-yard pass from Caleb Upton to Daniel Huffines.

The Green Wave scored again on its next possession when JaDarius Ealey scored on a 1-yard run to make it 10-0 at the end of the first half.

It didn’t take the Green Wave any time to add to their lead in the second half.

On the first play from scrimmage, Daniel Huffines took a pitch, spun out of a tackle two yards behind the line of scrimmage and raced across the field 65 yards to the end zone.

Cathedral played mostly backups in the second half, but still got into the end zone when Thomas Garrity tossed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Khalil Brice.

WCCA avoided the shutout when Tremel McKenzie broke open a 50-yard touchdown run with 2:02 remaining in the game.

WCCA coach Billy Caston said he was encouraged by the play of his team against a larger squad.

“I left a lot more encouraged than discouraged,” Caston said. “I saw some kids that haven’t had much playing time grow up a little bit. We started the first half a little timid, but after that we started to play some football.”

Rushing said he was a little disappointed in his defense, but was confident it would improve.

“I thought we’d come out with a little more intensity than we did,” Rushing said. “But the defense will come around. Tonight was to see who’s got a nose for the ball and who can play. We’re going to get better defensively.”

Cathedral will open its regular season at Central Private while WCCA will play at home against CHEF next Friday night.

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