Fourth-quarter comeback saves Bulldogs

Published 2:29 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

TERRY — For two and a half quarters, Natchez High’s defense was having trouble slowing down Terry High’s offense. But when it mattered most, the visiting Bulldogs made some key stops that allowed the offense to seize control.

And one person who made the most of that was senior running back Kevin Bailey, whose two 2-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter helped Natchez High rally from 10 points down early in the third quarter to defeat Terry 40-30 in a pivotal Region 3-6A game for both teams Friday night.

“We kept battling despite a poor defensive performance. We finally battled and pulled out a win,” Natchez High head coach Lance Reed said. “The first two and a half quarters we had a poor performance.”

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It was those first 30 minutes that had Natchez High fans who made the trip to southern Hinds County wondering what was going on. The visiting Bulldogs and the host Bulldogs were tied at 13-13 at halftime. But in the third quarter, Terry scored 17 points, including 10 straight to go up 23-13. Bailey then scored on a 4-yard run to cut the deficit to 23-20.

Javon Washington’s 45-yard touchdown to Damion Williams later in the third quarter kept Natchez High in the game, but it went into the fourth quarter trailing Terry 30-26.

However, Terry (4-5, 2-3) was shut out by Natchez High’s defense in the final 12 minutes while Bailey wore down Terry’s defense with his physical running attack. He finished with 130 yards rushing on 20 carries.

“Once we settled down, our defense played like it’s supposed to, made a couple of stops and helped our offense make plays. (Bailey) ran strong. Our offense took over in the fourth quarter,” Reed said.

Washington completed 13 of 22 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns to go with a 2-yard touchdown run. Williams had four catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns. As a team, Natchez High had 17 first downs and 391 yards of total offense.

“Javon had a great game. He managed the game well,” Reed said.

Another key to the visiting Bulldogs’ come-from-behind win was that they took care of the ball. They had no turnovers and were penalized just once the entire game.

With the win, Natchez High improved to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in Region 3-6A. Reed said it was a big win as the Bulldogs still control their own playoff destiny.

“We definitely have to win out. But we take it one game at a time,” Reed said.

Natchez High hits the road again next Friday when it travels to Jackson to take on Wingfield at 7 p.m.