Aerial Showcase: Natchez, Cathedral, Delta Charter compete in 7-on-7’s

Published 12:05 am Friday, July 3, 2015

Natchez High School linebacker Ernest Woods reacts to deflecting a Cathedral High School pass while playing a 7-on-7 game. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez High School linebacker Ernest Woods reacts to deflecting a Cathedral High School pass while playing a 7-on-7 game. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Highlight reel catches, a surprising upset and a last-minute victory were all present when Cathedral High School hosted Delta Charter and Natchez High School in 7-on-7 competitions Thursday evening.

While it took a few contests for Delta Charter and Cathedral to find a rhythm, Natchez scored early and often in its first two games as sophomore quarterback Chris Scott made effortless passes to his fast skill players on the outside. Scott found Tydarrius Terrell, Travez Lyles, Travion McDuffie and Jalen Pollard through creases in the defense, while Shavoke Herrington, Desmond Dawson and Chris Crockett cleared the airwaves on defense en route to back-to-back blowout wins to start the competition.

After beating Cathedral and Delta Charter by multiple touchdowns, defensive coordinator Dan Smith said he was pleased with what he saw, especially with the team trying to readjust its offense with new head coach Henry Garner bringing the middle school offense to the high school.

Email newsletter signup

“This was our first competition all summer,” Smith said. “They gave up a touchdown, so I didn’t really like that. But again, this is our first one.”

Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing and Delta Charter head coach Dwayne Taylor were not as pleased with their level of play. After falling to Natchez and Cathedral, Taylor gathered his team together, urging them to compete. His team answered the challenge in a big way, upsetting Natchez in the very next contest that saw Lee Lancaster secure the win with a bobbling interception.

“That’s a morale boost because our guys need to see that they can compete with the 5A guys,” Taylor said. “I think (quarterback) Trey (Poole) is getting a lot of good looks, especially with Desmond Dawson, looks, especially with Desmond Dawson, Shavoke Herrington and Chris Crocket standing on the opposite side. To be able to see Shavoke flying around over there is going to help us when we get into our season.”

Meanwhile Rushing was stewing after his team split games against Natchez and Delta Charter, but not because of scores, he later clarified. Rather, he wished his team showed a greater sense of urgency.

“Our whole summer, I know they’ve had a long year, but I’ve been very displeased with their attitude,” Rushing said. “Now, I have a handful of guys that are working harder than anybody I’ve had in my life, but as a collective group, I’m disappointed.”

After Delta Charter’s upset against Natchez, Cathedral took it to the Bulldogs, jumping all over Natchez 25-0 in the early going. Scott struggled, throwing multiple interceptions, including one to Jadarius Anderson, who ran across the middle and snatched a one-handed pick high above his head.

However, back-to-back interceptions thrown by Cathedral’s Jackson Carpenter gave Natchez new life, and Scott connected on two big plays to Ty Terrell, bringing Natchez within five. After a defensive stop, Natchez got the ball back with a minute left to play, and Scott wasted no time moving his team down the field. With eight seconds remaining, Scott dropped back from the 8-yard line and found Terrell out of the backfield who then juked a Cathedral defender and scored as the time expired, giving Natchez a 26-25 victory.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen any excitement this summer, so hopefully that means we’re getting into football mode,” Rushing said.

Rushing said the quarterback competition is still wide open at the moment with Andrew Beesley, Connor Mire and Carpenter each vying for the job.

“I thought Andrew really threw the ball well today,” Rushing said. “Connor has to trust himself and get rid of the ball better. Jackson asked if he could play quarterback, and I always give kids chances. He’s done a good job. Right now, I couldn’t say who’s going to be our starter.”

Scores from Cathedral’s 7-on-7 contest:

Natchez 28, Delta Charter 0

Natchez 26, Cathedral 9

Cathedral 20, Delta Charter 12

Delta Charter 11, Natchez 6

Natchez 26, Cathedral 25

Cathedral 14, Delta Charter 6