Isaac snag leads Natchez to win
NATCHEZ — A couple of years ago, ESPN had a feature on its college football telecasts called the “Game Changing Performance,” which featured plays that affected the outcome of a game by completely shifting the momentum of the contest.
What Brian Isaac did for Natchez High on Friday night most likely won’t be shown on ESPN, but it was the epitome of a game changing performance.
Natchez was hanging on to a 14-7 lead late in the third quarter against Wilkinson County, and the Wildcats were driving to what looked to be the tying touchdown.
On fourth and two, Wilkinson County fullback Stevenson Veals bulled up the middle for the first down, but was stripped of the football.
Isaac caught the ball in midair and then raced 78 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
From then on, the game was all Natchez.
“That was it,” Wilkinson County coach Elbert Lyles said. “(A play like that) is what I was afraid of. For almost three quarters were went toe-to-toe with them, but that play took a lot out of us.”
It was a fitting play for a defense that allowed just 39 rushing yards in the game and shut out the Wildcats in the second half.
“We needed our defense to step up and make a big play like that,” Natchez coach Lance Reed said. “They needed to step up and show what they’re made of. I liked the way they finished and closed out the game.”
After Natchez had scored the first two touchdowns of the game, one on a 1-yard run by Larry Chatman and the other on a 12-yard pass from Javon Washington to Kevin Bailey, Wilkinson County took back some of the momentum when quarterback Brian Montgomery scored on a 1-yard sneak with 27 seconds left in the first half.
The Wildcats carried that momentum into the second half, as they stopped Natchez’s opening drive on downs and went on a long drive of their own before Isaac’s touchdown.
“That play gave us a spark,” Isaac said. “It was a close game and we almost gave it to them, but we brought the intensity in the second half on defense.”
The Natchez defense made another big play on Wilkinson County’s next possession, stuffing Montgomery on a quarterback sneak on fourth and one.
On the very next play, Washington found Trevon Chatman streaking down the sideline and hit him with a 40-yard touchdown pass.
The two connected again on a 20-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
Washington finished the game with 248 yards passing and three touchdowns while Chatman had 95 yards receiving and two scores.
Despite the 27-point victory, Reed knows there are some things for his team to work on.
Natchez was penalized 16 times for 103 yards in the game and Bulldog receivers dropped five passes in the game.
“That’s what this time of year is all about,” Reed said. “Addressing your issues and getting better. We’ve got to come out with more focus and get better. I hope when we get to district play we’ll be much improved.”