Petal blows past Natchez

Published 12:52 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

Petal’s Akeem Pollard gets tackled by Natchez High’s David Jones and Troy Norman during their game Friday night at Natchez High School. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Friday night’s Region 3-6A contest between Natchez High School and Petal High School looked like it was going to be a back-and-forth offensive struggle through one quarter of play.

The Bulldogs and the Panthers traded scores in the first, with Natchez taking a 14-10 lead into the second frame.

But Petal took over the game in the second and scored 26 points to blow the game open. The Panthers would go on to win 42-14.

“We got off to a good start,” Natchez head coach Lance Reed said. “Our guys made plays early, and we got off running. But (Petal) is a good team. This game is about adjustments, and we play big-time teams in 6A football that are well coached.”

The first quarter was filled with big plays on both sides. Natchez set up its first touchdown of the game with a 67-yard fake-punt pass from Myron Anderson to Cody Tucker. Two plays later, Derrian Johnson found Tucker for a 10-yard touchdown pass, and the Herbert Steadman extra point made the score 7-3.

Natchez forced a Petal fumble on its next possession and drove deep into Panther territory before making a miscue on offense.

Petal linebacker Jared Smith intercepted Natchez’s Anthony Robinson on a fourth-down pass from the Petal 19. Smith returned the interception 85 yards for a touchdown.

Natchez answered right back with 4:29 to go in the first quarter with a 76-yard run by Devonté Jackson to give the Bulldogs a 14-10 lead.

Petal took the lead for good early in the second with a 3-yard run by Jamarcus Revies. Revies scored again on a 26-yard pass from Anthony Alford with 3:34 left in the second. Two minutes later, Alford scored on a 6-yard run to make the score 29-14. Then with just 10 seconds left in the half, Petal’s Jalen Boney blocked a Bulldog punt and Slade Buckley picked it up and ran it 12 yards for a Petal touchdown to bring the score to 36-14 at halftime.

Revies scored his third touchdown of the game on a 63-yard catch on Petal’s first offensive play of the second half. The kick failed, and the scoring ended at 42-14 after the Revies touchdown.

Natchez had four turnovers to go along with the blocked punt, and Reed said mistakes were an issue for his team.

“We made mistakes in places that snowballed on us,” Reed said.

The Bulldogs gained 268 yards of offense in the game, led by Jackson who rushed for 83 yards on six carries. Natchez completed just five of 19 passes for 86 yards and three interceptions.

The Natchez defense allowed just 289 yards in the game.

Reed said his team would have to use Friday’s loss as a learning tool for the remainder of the season.

“We will learn from this,” he said. “We have a tough district ahead of us, and we will evaluate the film and learn.”

Natchez (6-2, 2-2) will travel to face Hattiesburg next week.