Natchez High left playing for pride

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NATCHEZ — Oak Grove High School and Natchez High School are almost identical going strictly by results.

Both teams are 6-4 overall, 2-4 in MHSAA Region 3-6A. Both teams are playing their final game of the season, as neither one will be making the playoffs.

So when the two teams square off at Oak Grove Friday night, both will be playing for nothing more than having one more win than the other team.

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“They’re on a two-game losing skid, similarly to us, so we’re both in the situation where we just want to finish up the year on a good note,” NHS head coach Lance Reed said.

But Reed’s not discounting Oak Grove just because its had a tough go-round in regional play.

“Our region is a tough region, so it can happen each and every week, where you face good teams, so that’s definitely the case (with Oak Grove),” Reed said.

With nothing to play for but pride, Reed said his team is focusing on being successful for just one more game.

“I think everyone wants to win it, and we want to do what it takes to win it, so that’s going to be our focus,” Reed said. “We want to step out to practice (Monday) and have a good day of practice and build on it so we can get a winning taste back in our mouths.”

After falling to Brandon High School 45-24 last Friday, Reed said he had to stress to his players the importance of going back to work and putting the blowout behind them.

“That’s the bottom line,” Reed said. “We know where our deficiencies are, so our job is to improve on the things that we’re lacking on and go back to work.”

With end-of-the-year evaluations, Reed said the record speaks for itself, even taking into consideration the youth his team has.

“We beat teams that we were supposed to beat, I would say,” Reed said. “We had our chances in some of the losses we had that we didn’t capitalize on and do the things that we had to do. That’s kind of the tale of the tape.

“This is a good learning experience from a standpoint of it being a lot of the guys’ first time starting and playing on Friday night. We had a lot of underclassmen playing at key positions this year, and we hope next year those guys will have a lot of experience under their belts and that we’ll be a better team.”

Friday also marks the final game for the Bulldog seniors, and Reed said he was pleased with how his seniors, many of whom were starting for the first time, improved throughout the season.

“They were new to Friday nights as well, so they were gaining experience as the year went on,” Reed said. “They played hard and showed a lot of improvement throughout the year.”

Kickoff at Oak Grove is at 7 p.m. Friday.