Early mistakes doom Natchez in 43-20 loss

Published 1:13 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

Natchez High School’s Trey Hall pulls on the shirt of West Jones High School’s Neil McLaurin while McLaurin runs with the football Friday. West Jones beat Natchez 43-20. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez High School’s Anthony Robinson gets tackled by West Jones High School’s JaMarcus Fisher Friday. West Jones beat Natchez 43-20. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

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Natchez High School’s Anthony Robinson gets tackled by West Jones High School’s JaMarcus Fisher Friday. West Jones beat Natchez 43-20.

NATCHEZ — The Natchez High Bulldogs knew they were going to get a fight from West Jones, and they came out swinging.

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However, they weren’t able to stay in the fight, falling to the Mustangs 43-20.

“There were too many mistakes early,” said Natchez head coach Melvin Pete. “We built a hole.”

That hole wasn’t around very early, though, with the Bulldogs (3-3) striking first in the game when John Ferguson found the end zone after running away from Mustang defenders for 57 yards.

But after the touchdown, the wheels began to fall off for the Bulldogs. Starting quarterback Chris Scott went down with an injury and was unable to play the rest of the game.

“Chris came over with a thumb injury and really couldn’t grip the ball,” Pete said. “We had to sideline him.”

With Scott out, West Jones (4-1) struck.

Quarterback Neil McLaurin scored on the first play of the second quarter on a 22-yard run to give the Mustangs a 7-6 lead. It was the first of his three rushing touchdowns on the night.

McLaurin scored on West Jones’ next drive, this time from 33 yards to push the lead to 14-6.

The big second quarter continued for the Mustangs when McLaurin found Jordan Jones on a four-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 20-6, and on the next Mustang drive McLaurin found Jalen Lindsay from 34-yards out for a touchdown as the Mustangs took a 27-6 lead into halftime.

West Jones would continue to roll as the second half started, with McLaurin once again finding Jones for a touchdown, this time from six yards out.

With Scott out for the Bulldogs, Sidney Davis stepped in at quarterback and had a big night, finishing 13-of-18 for 179 yards and a touchdown and also adding 31 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

He pulled the Bulldogs within 20 at 34-14, when he carried West Jones players into the end zone on a 12-yard run.

But the Natchez defense couldn’t stop McLaurin and the Mustangs as he punched one in from one yard out in the fourth to seal the win for the Mustangs.

Natchez would add a touchdown late in the game on a Davis to Tydarrius Terrell touchdown pass from 24-yards out, but it was too little, too late.

McLaurin’s finished his big night with 195 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and also 119 passing yards and three touchdowns.

“He is the best player in this division,” said West Jones head coach Scott Pierson. “I don’t care what anyone says. We’ve got some really great players, but I haven’t seen one better than him. He has the ability to hurt you with his feet and his arm.”

John Ferguson led the way on the ground for the Bulldogs with seven carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. Davis was Natchez’s leading passer.

Although most coaches would want their team to quickly move on from a loss, Pete is hoping his team feels something from this game.

“That is kind of the way we want it,” Pete said. “We want to be a team that we care about what is going on. I don’t like a team that is going to just get over it. That means we really aren’t fighting hard enough or working hard enough.”

Next up for Natchez is a clash with South Jones.