Natchez comes back from early deficit to beat McComb, 18-13

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 14, 2017

Natchez High School began Saturday’s spring showdown against McComb displaying the same characteristics that drove it to a 1-10 season this past fall.

But what happened over the final 12 minutes perhaps has Bulldog Nation hopeful it can reverse the misfortunes from a year ago.

Natchez rallied from a two-score deficit to beat McComb, 18-13, in a two 15-minute quarter exhibition, sending a sense of belief and jubilation throughout the Bulldog sideline.

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“I appreciate the coaches making the adjustments and the kids believing in them,” NHS coach Roy Rigsby said. “The mindset of these kids is different from last year. They were down, but they never gave up. And we’re going to try to build off this.”

Things appeared bleak early on for the Bulldogs after falling behind 13-0 and quarterback Chris Scott was intercepted in the end zone.

But defensive back Richard Wright sent a bolt of energy into the Bulldogs after intercepting a pass in McComb territory.

On the next play, Scott connected with Dedarious Jackson on a 32-yard scoring strike, putting the Bulldogs on the board, 13-6.

On the ensuing possession, senior Ernest Woods came up with another turnover as he pounced on a loose ball in Natchez territory.

Scott and Jackson then connected again on a long pass down the sideline for an 86-yard score bringing the Bulldogs’ to within one, 13-12.

Following a defensive stand, Natchez took over from its own 40 with 4:37 remaining and marched eight plays, capped off by a Scott 1-yard TD run around the right end, giving Natchez its first lead, 18-13.

“This started in the beginning in the offseason when our attitude changed,” Scott said. “Usually when we get down, we didn’t have any hope. Now we have a brotherhood and kept our heads up.”

Woods had a 21-yard catch on the drive, while Scott added an 18-yard run.

“Scott and (Woods), they pretty much carry the team, and they’re turning into some big leaders for us,” Rigsby said. “I’m proud of them.”

The 6-foot-4 Scott finished with 191 yards passing on just seven completions. The rising senior also added 44 yards rushing and his score.

“I know we’re going in the right direction,” Scott said. “If we can keep doing the right things and stay behind each other, we’ll be alright.”

Natchez allowed one McComb first down on the ensuing drive before forcing a turnover on downs and turning possession back over to the Bulldogs.

“Our main objective this spring was to improve everywhere, and I think we did that,” Rigsby said. “We have so much to work on, like everybody else, but to know we’re going into the right direction is comforting.”

Both of McComb’s scoring plays came on long runs from Vincent Jones Jr. The senior running back scored on runs 24 and 55 and finished the game with 127 yards rushing.

Natchez had 235 yards total yards to McComb’s 185.

Jackson had 108 yards on two catches, and Woods had 35 on three grabs.

Natchez and McComb will square off in a jamboree Aug. 11 before the Bulldogs opening the regular season Aug. 18 at Wilkinson County.

“We saw their heart today,” Rigsby said. “The fact that we were down and fought back, that’s the biggest and most impressive thing that I came away with today.”