Bulldogs beat South Jones without head QB

Published 12:48 am Saturday, October 11, 2014

Down a quarterback, Natchez High School (4-3) traveled to South Jones (1-6) without some key elements, but escaped with a 56-13 victory.

Following Chris Scott’s thumb injury against West Jones last week, Natchez head coach Melvin Pete went with experienced backup quarterback Anthony Robinson, who benefitted from Pete’s game plan going into the game.

“We actually had Sidney (Davis) singled up,” Pete said. “We put trips to the wide side and had Sidney line up on the weak side, and we targeted him, trying to take advantage of that corner to his side.”

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Pete’s strategy worked, as Davis hauled in big catches and forced South Jones to put a safety over the top of him. That led to long runs by John Ferguson, who finished the game with 105 yards and two rushing scores.

“Using Sidney opened up some plays on the other side, and it opened up holes for Ferguson in the middle,” Pete said.

Robinson finished the game 10 of 15 passing, 192 passing yards and three total touchdowns. Davis subbed with Robinson at the position and completed 2 of 5 for 89 yards and a touchdown.

Malik Byrd caught three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, while Davis had three receptions for 63 yards and Jalen Pallup had a 66-yard touchdown reception.

Defensively, Pete and his team faced some adversity going into the game with starting linebacker Nehemiah Ford quitting a day before the game. Pete started Dalvion Jackson in Ford’s place and made him a captain before the game, rewarding Jackson’s effort in the last couple of games.

“I did that because he’s been doing pretty good,” said Pete, who is still learning the different personalities of his team. “Sometimes these guys get caught up in other things, but you can’t change the stripes on a leopard and you can’t change the stripes on a zebra. We have to roll with what we have.”

Jackson led the team in tackles with six and had four tackles for loss. Keenan Johnson had five tackles and one interception. Jardarius Ivory, who is the third-string cornerback, took an interception 60 yards for a score.

Natchez took an 8-6 lead into the second quarter as Pete said the team struggled with multiple first quarter penalties, but after the Bulldogs resolved them, Natchez went onto outscore the Bulldogs 26-0 in the second quarter.

The win against South Jones gives Natchez its first win in district. With a 1-2 record in district, Pete said his team is back on track to fight for a playoff spot.

“We can still be in the hunt,” Pete said. “This win puts us back into contention.”

Natchez returns home for another district game, this time against 5-2 Laurel.