Next two games critical for Natchez High’s postseason hopes

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Natchez High School senior wide receiver Jadarius Davis makes a catch during practice Tuesday afternoon. Natchez takes on Brandon High School at Brandon on Friday. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Jadarius Davis and the other Natchez High School seniors understand just how big the next two football games are for their football careers.

“(Friday) is a big game,” Davis said. “This game and the next we are going to take just like it’s the playoffs.”

Natchez has dropped its last two games, both against MHSAA Region 3-6A foes, and this week’s game against Brandon High School is the first of two must-win games to end the season.

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“It’s about winning at this point,” head coach Lance Reed said. “We control our own destiny. If we win we’re in, and if we don’t we’re not.”

Davis said the seniors are taking that attitude to every practice this week and also want to instill that sense of urgency to the younger players as well.

“We are telling them to treat it just like they are a senior,” he said. “Treat it like it’s their senior year. We are trying to keep everything positive and not allowing anything negative in (the locker room).”

Natchez has lost each of its last two games — Petal High School and Hattiesburg High School — by 21 points, but Reed said the focus is on moving forward and learning from those defeats.

“We are just working on executing and trying to reduce our (busted plays),” he said.

Davis, a wide receiver, said execution is a focus on the offensive side of the ball as well.

“We have to get everybody on the same page,” he said. “You can have 10 people do everything right and one get it wrong and it doesn’t work. We have to get all 11 people doing the right thing.”

Brandon comes into Friday’s game as one of the top 10 teams in the state, and Reed said the Bulldogs will have their hands full.

“They are a really balanced team and well coached,” he said. “They play hard-nosed football. They are competitive in every way.”

But Davis said he and his fellow seniors are more focused on getting back to the winning attitude they had during their six-game winning streak that was snapped on Oct. 12 against Petal.

“We just have to get together and get things how they were starting the season,” he said. “We started out good and have had some distractions along the way, but we have to get back on track and bring everybody back together as one.”

Natchez is one of four teams with a 3-2 district record heading into Friday’s action. They share that record with Brandon, Oak Grove and Hattiesburg, with Brandon and Oak Grove still remaining on the schedule. Petal leads the district at 5-0.

Natchez (6-3, 3-2) will travel to face Brandon (7-2, 3-2) at 7 p.m. Friday.