Natchez, Jefferson County eye MHSAA matchup

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 25, 2017

Jefferson County High School snapped an eight-year losing streak to Natchez last season when the Tigers topped the Bulldogs, 28-20.

Natchez will be looking to start a new streak while JCHS will aim to extend its winning a second season when the two teams tangle tonight at Natchez High.

“They are always going to play us to the best of their ability, and we’re not underestimating their big-play ability,” Natchez coach Roy Rigsby said. “My hat goes off to (JCHS) Coach (James) Herrington for the job they did against us last year, and we’re looking forward to playing them again.”

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Herrington said his squad has never beaten Natchez in back-to-back seasons, and the feat would mark a great achievement for his program.

“Every game is a big game for us,” he said. “Our goal is not so much winning because it’s a main rival, but because we work on accomplishing things we’ve never done before.”

The Bulldogs (1-0) enter tonight’s showdown riding high after racing past Wilkinson County last week on the road, 39-0. Rigsby said despite the lopsided victory, his squad remains focused on improving each week.

“We’re excited to be home and playing in front of our home crowd,” he said. “We don’t have anything specific that we’re trying to work on, but we have to get better, and that’s what we’re expecting to do.”

JCHS, meanwhile, enters attempting to rebound from last week’s 20-8 setback to Magee.

Herrington said untimely turnovers and penalties ultimately did them in.

“We had costly turnovers that cost us points,” he said.

The grizzled Tigers coach said what stood out to him about Natchez was its play defensively.

“In prior years, I’ve noticed both Wilkinson and Natchez both being able to score,” Herrington said. “But Wilkinson couldn’t seem to get anything going offensively. Natchez made plays and punched the ball in early to gain momentum, and Wilkinson couldn’t recover.”

Herrington said the key for his squad will be eliminating the mistakes.

“It’s very hard to beat a great Natchez ball club if we can’t eliminate ourselves as an opponent,” he said.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.