Natchez High leans on run game to race past Jefferson County, 40-20

Published 1:40 am Saturday, August 26, 2017

Natchez High School quarterback Chris Scott stood on the sideline midway through the third quarter Friday and delivered a stern message to anyone within ear shot.

“We are running on them,” he shouted. “We’re winning. Let’s keep it like that.”

The Bulldogs did just that.

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Natchez ran inside, outside and past rival Jefferson County for 375 yards en route to an impressive 40-20 victory.

“We started off slow, but we had to bounce back and make the adjustment, and we were able to do that,” Natchez coach Roy Rigsby said.

The Bulldogs (2-0) tallied 513 yards for the game and had five separate players run for scores.

Jefferson County jumped out to a 14-8, but multiple turnovers deep inside Natchez territory, including one at the 10, in conjunction with untimely penalties ultimately did the Tigers in.

“We were down there, but we just turned it over,” JCHS coach James Herrington said. “I said turnovers would be crucial. They were crucial last week (in a loss to Magee), and they were crucial this week.”

JCHS (0-2) committed nine penalties for 62 yards.

Scott led Natchez with two rushing touchdowns, and got Natchez on the board in the first quarter with a 38-yard scoring run. The run tied the game 8-8 late in the first.

The senior signal-caller threw for 138 yards on just 12 attempts. He said with the rushing attack working the way it did, the game plan didn’t call for him to air it out.

“I just have belief in our players and coaches,” Scott said. “If whatever we are doing is working, let’s keep doing it. I don’t want to hinder our offense from working. If running the ball is working, then run the ball.”

In addition to Scott, Joe Davis, Jatavis Melton, EJ Woods and Shavoké Herrington all provided rushing scores.

Woods and Davis provided the inside running, while Herrington and Melton scampered around the edges for big gainers.

“I’m just doing it for my team,” Shavoké Herrington said. “We can go at our opponents all type of ways … It’s fun to put our city back on the map.”

Shavoké Herrington also provided 51 yards receiving, while Melton tallied 70.
“I don’t doubt the skill of our guys. I know we have skilled guys,” Rigsby said. “Once we can be consistent in assignment football and improve in our fundamentals, then we can start to say that we’re developing into the type of team that we need to be.”

The Tigers totaled 335 yards total. Quarterback Gailrontae Fells led JCHS with 109 yards rushing and 124 passing. Fells electrified the crowd with a 75-yard scoring run that gave the Tigers a 14-8 lead.

“We played a pretty solid ball game and pushed them to the limit,” James Herrington said. “A 3A team against a 5A team, I think we gave them everything they wanted.”

Natchez, however, then scored the next 30 points to pull away.

“These guys, they never doubted. They know they can come back,” Rigsby said.

NHS will look to remain unbeaten next week when it hosts Port Gibson, while Jefferson County will aim to pick up its first win when it hosts Amite County.

“I believe God has ways of showing you what you need before you get where you need to go,” James Herrington said. “We are just going to come and focus on fundamentals and ball security.”