Bulldogs host Tigers

Published 12:01 am Friday, August 26, 2011

NATCHEZ — It may be Class 3A versus 6A, but Jefferson County High School head coach James Herrington is telling his players to be ready.

In fact, he’s been telling them to be ready for a while now.

The Tigers will travel to Natchez High School tonight for a 7:30 game, and Herrington said his players have been working toward this game since the offseason.

Email newsletter signup

“I told them we had to have an outstanding summer to beat Natchez High,” Herrington said.

And his players didn’t disappoint him, Herrington said.

“Normally, we have trouble getting guys in during the summer,” Herrington said. “We live in a poverty area, and a lot of kids work in the summer. Some kids work in Natchez, Vicksburg or even live with relatives outside of Mississippi to work.

“We had an outstanding weight and conditioning program November through the spring, and we averaged a rare 35 guys this summer.”

Because of this, Herrington said he was extremely impressed with his players’ dedication.

“All I can say is, I thank them for doing that,” Herrington said. “A lot of guys needed to work for school and other responsibilities with their families, and a lot of them bit the bullet this summer.”

Herrington said he’s expecting a strong running game from the Bulldogs.

“The numbers don’t lie: Last week, they had more than 300 yards versus Wilkinson County,” Herrington said. “Back in the spring against Port Gibson and in the jamboree against Hazlehurst, there was a heavy running game.”

NHS head coach Lance Reed said the Tigers would bring a very aggressive and athletic team to the Bulldogs’ home field tonight.

“They have a strong bunch this year,” Reed said. “They replaced some key guys at quarterback and running back. They have some new guys that they feel are just as good as last year’s (players).”

Reed also said Jefferson County will look to run the ball first.

“They can air it out, (too),” he said. “They have wide receivers that are fast and catch the ball and a quarterback that can put the ball on the money. They’re a well-balanced team.”

After the Tigers’ comeback win against Trinity Episcopal last week, Reed said he was impressed with Jefferson County’s never-say-die attitude.

“They don’t give up,” Reed said. “The mentality of the coaches feeds onto the players. They have a tight bond with each other and do a good job.”

This week in practice, Reed said he’s focusing on eliminating busts, and he said the players have responded well to the coaches’ challenges.

“We want to play a mistake-free game if possible and continue to play with great effort,” Reed said.

“The players realize (they need to clean up the mistakes). They’ve been very receptive about fixing their deficiencies. We address them openly, and they work to eliminate them.”