Trojans hope for hard-fought game in season opener against Bulldogs

Published 12:01 am Friday, September 6, 2013

Natchez High's Gerald Wiley and Ferriday High's Marquis Brown, both sophomore guards and defensive tackles, prepare to face off in tonight's game at Ferriday High School. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez High’s Gerald Wiley and Ferriday High’s Marquis Brown, both sophomore guards and defensive tackles, prepare to face off in tonight’s game at Ferriday High School. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday — The battle between Trojan and Bulldog will take place tonight as a fierce rivalry has emerged between the Ferriday Trojans and the Natchez Bulldogs in the years they have clashed on the field.

The two teams have battled it out every year since 2009, and their last match in 2012 resulted in a 33-6 win for Natchez.

The Bulldogs will travel to Trojan territory to finish what they’ve started last year. But Ferriday head coach Cleothis Cummings said he has other things in mind.

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“We feel like we can compete well,” Cummings said. “We’re not taking them for granted. Lance Reed has done a good job, but we’ve put in a lot of work, too. So we’re ready for the test. I know that we’re geared up for them.”

What will be the season opener for Ferriday is the third game of the season for Natchez. But Cummings said he doesn’t feel his team is at a disadvantage because Louisiana football plays two weeks behind Mississippi.

“We’re just focused on going out there and playing,” he said. “ Sometimes it can be an advantage (for Natchez) because they’re in tune with what they’re supposed to do, but I feel like we’ll be prepared even though they have those two games on us.”

Though Cummings has a lot of confidence in his players, he said he knows there are certain opponents that a coach must respect.

“You have to know who to respect, and (quarterback)Sidney Davis is a true athlete,” he said. “He’s willing to do what it takes to win.

“Our focus is to go out there and stop what they do best and try to eliminate Davis from going out there and making big plays.”

Natchez head coach Lance Reed said he knows playing against Ferriday in Trojan territory can be challenging, but he expects it to be a great experience for his players.

“We’ve had some really close games in the past,” Reed said. “It’s always been an electrifying game.”

Reed said beyond anything else, tonight’s game will develop them into road warriors.

“We have good confidence to go into hostile environment and withstand the pressure,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get ourselves ready for district play when we’re going to have to travel and play well on the road.”

The Bulldogs are preparing to play a very physical game tonight, and Reed said he knows what his players must do to compete well in this matchup.

“They’re an athletic, physical team, and they fly around to the ball,” he said. “They’re good at making big plays, so our job is to contain their big-play book and move the ball well.”

The Bulldogs are hoping to get back some significant players for the road match, and Reed said he’s excited about the density of his roster.

“Offensively, we’re looking to get some guys back from injury to have even more weapons on that side,” Reed said. “Players like Malik Byrd, Travez Lyles and Dalvion Jackson are looking to get some valuable playing time.”

The battle between man and animal may get feisty, and Cummings said his Trojans wouldn’t end the game without a fight.

A lot of people are afraid to play Natchez,” Cumming said. “But a team of their caliber, you want to go out and put your best foot forward.”