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Natchez High passes jamboree test

NATCHEZ — With one exhibition game under their belts, the Natchez High School coaching staff has a better idea of where they are as a team heading into week one of the season.

After weeks of squaring off against each other in practice, the Bulldogs’ varsity squad faced South Pike in a one-quarter scrimmage Friday night at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium.

The Bulldogs won the exhibition game 13-0, and NHS head coach Lance Reed said he was able to get a better understanding of his team’s current strengths and weaknesses.

“Our passing game was good. We took what was there. Defensively, we bent a little bit but didn’t break,” Reed said.

“We still have a lot to work on. Our kickoff team is not very good right now, and we really have to work on that.”

With 5:22 left in the game, Damion Williams caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Javon Washington. Michael Thompson kicked the extra point, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs scored six more points on a 1-yard touchdown run by Larry Chatman with 2:48 left. Natchez missed the extra point.

Jefferson County 6, J.J. McClain 6

The Jefferson County Tigers played two 12-minute halves against J.J. McClain in the first portion of the jamboree.

After a scoreless first half, Jefferson County got on the board with a 93-yard touchdown reception by Bouvier Ellis from quarterback Kiwaski Tenner with 10:06 left in the game.

J.J. McClain tied the game with 5:48 to go when on a 3-yard touchdown throw by Kareem Spann to Ronald Powell. The play came after a fumbled kickoff recovery by the Tigers inside their own 20-yard line.

Tigers head coach James Herrington said that play exemplified why turnovers can be so costly.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Herrington said.

“You have to take advantage of every opportunity you’re given. Every opportunity is precious, because you might not get it back again. It’s hard to win games playing against yourself and the other team.”

South Pike 12, Wilkinson County 6

The Wilkinson County Wildcats got started on the wrong foot and came up just short against South Pike in their one-quarter exhibition game.

On the first play, South Pike’s Tim Lewis caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from quarterback DeVonta McKnight.

Wilkinson County scored its only touchdown on a 3-yard reception by Kenyon McDonald from quarterback Brian Montgomery with 5:56 to go.

With less than 20 second on the clock, South Pike put the game away on a 3-yard touchdown carry by McKnight.

“We definitely need to make some adjustments,” Wildcats head coach Elbert Lyles said.

“I saw some positive things, like good tackling, and us running to the ball well, but we made some mistakes too. We gave up some big plays, like the blown coverage on the first one.”

Natchez will travel to Jefferson County next Friday for both teams’ season opener. Wilkinson County’s season opener will be at Natchez Aug. 27.

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