NHS already in playoffs, but shooting for higher seed
Published 12:07 am Friday, November 6, 2015
NATCHEZ — Win and get in.
Well, sort of. Because Provine defeated South Jones 18-14 Thursday night, Natchez has already made the playoffs, but is playing for a higher seed.
Regardless, the Bulldogs will reach the postseason for the first time since 2010.
Email newsletter signup
Standing in the Bulldogs’ way is Brookhaven High School, a team that defeated Natchez 34-32 a season ago in a game that saw a fourth quarter Malik Byrd kickoff return go for six before a referee disputed the call and ruled he went out of bounds on the return. Byrd said he remembers the play vividly, and revenge, along with making the playoffs, is at the forefront of his mind.
“From the kids perspective, especially Malik, it is about that,” Natchez defensive coordinator Dan Smith said. “They’re very excited. We should have won last week (against West Jones), but that’s over with now. It’s time to turn the page.”
Travez Lyles, a fellow senior Natchez wide receiver, is looking to handle business in Brookhaven to get a taste of the playoffs.
“We’ve never been around that atmosphere, and it’s going to be good to get there after a win (today),” Lyles said.
Brookhaven clinches No. 3 with a win, while Natchez will be the No. 4. matching the Bulldogs against a No. 1 seed from Region 4 (currently Pearl River Central).
Of course, a win would give Natchez the No. 3 seed, matching the Bulldogs against the No. 2 seed (currently Pascagoula).
Like most 5A teams, Brookhaven will hold a size advantage against the Bulldogs tonight, and Smith believes the Panthers will look to run the ball in power sets with Thomas Poole, who has accounted 1,238 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns this season.
“They’re a good team,” Smith said. “When we play up to our ability, though, nothing concerns me.”
Going into the season finale against Brookhaven, junior wide receiver Chris Crockett said he wants to get the win and secure a postseason berth for the seniors.
“We want to help our brothers make it to the playoffs,” Crockett said.