NHS shuts out Ferriday

Published 1:01 am Saturday, September 3, 2011

Natchez High School running back Larry Chatman gets around Ferriday defenders on his way to the end zone during their game Friday night at Ferriday High School. Natchez High won 19-0. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

FERRIDAY — A dominant defense and an outstanding performance by running back Larry Chatman led Natchez High School over Ferriday High School Friday night in Ferriday.

Chatman rushed for 116 yards on 14 carries and blew the game open early in the third quarter with a 50-yard touchdown run to give Natchez a 19-0 win over its cross-river rival.

“(That run) was amazing,” Chatman said. “The (offensive) line blocked all right, and everything worked out all right, and I just took off. I just thought about getting to the house.”

The touchdown was Chatman’s second of the game, and helped him account for more than half of Natchez’s 229 rushing yards on the night.

Natchez’s defense made sure Chatman’s effort would be enough, holding Ferriday to just 69 total yards and pitching its first shut out of the season.

“We kind of kept it simple, and did a good job flowing to the ball and tackling,” Natchez coach Lance Reed said. “We did a good job slowing down their good corps of skill guys.”

Although Natchez was playing its third game of the season, Ferriday was taking the field for its first regular-season game, and the Trojans’ inexperience was noticeable early.

The Trojans fell behind 12-0 after the first quarter and did not get a first down until their final drive of the first half. Ferriday also set Natchez up with great field position with two mishandled snaps in punting situations.

“We saw a lot of young guys that weren’t quite ready to play,” Ferriday coach Richard Oliver said. “We had a lot of guys that didn’t start running out of the stalls.”

Natchez scored its first touchdown on a 1-yard run by Chatman after Ferriday’s first mishandled snap of the game gave Natchez the ball on Ferriday’s 4-yard-line.

On Ferriday’s next possession, the Trojans gave Natchez the ball on the 18-yard-line on the second mishandled snap, but Natchez was unable to capitalize when the Trojans’ Dontrell Domino intercepted a pass by Natchez quarterback Derrian Johnson.

The Trojans went three-and-out again in their third possession, but got off a successful punt, and Natchez took over on the Ferriday 47-yard-line.

The Bulldogs put together a 10-play drive to score on a 1-yard dive by running back Denzel Washington to give them a 12-0 lead, which stood until Chatman’s 50-yard run in the third quarter.

“We stumbled in some spots, but finished it off,” Reed said. “I was happy to see a lot of guys get a chance to play.”

Natchez focused on its running game, and only threw three passes on the night, two of which were intercepted.

“(The run) is how we set up our tempo,” Reed said. “We expect our guys to control the line up front.”

Oliver said his team was able to play a lot of players as well, and he was pleased with how many of his players responded.

“We had some kids we didn’t expect to play play good,” he said.

“We are looking at a lot of kids that can do what they are supposed to do and be aggressive.”

Natchez improved to 3-0 on the season, and will host Warren Central next week. Ferriday (0-1) will travel to Block (1-0) next week.