Natchez hopes to keep playoff chances alive with three consecutive wins

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 20, 2017

Natchez High School’s postseason chances could be cut this week with a loss, but head coach Roy Rigsby is not worried.

The Bulldogs are set to host district newcomer North Pike at 7 p.m. tonight for senior night, the first of three wins needed to clinch a playoff spot.

“It’s no pressure because you go into every week doing whatever is takes to win,” Rigsby said. “We need to win all three, but I firmly believe we can win all three.

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“If you do that, there really is no pressure — that or there has always been pressure and you don’t know it because you have to win any way.”

Natchez (4-4, 1-3) would likely be placed as the No. 4 seed in MHSAA Region 3-5A if it were to win its remaining three games, granting it an away playoff game in the first round.

After last season’s 1-10 ending, Rigsby said the chance at a run in the postseason is extremely important.

“A lot for people look at 1-10, and say winning four games is an improvement, but to win seven from 1-10 to make the playoffs, that is significant,” he said. “It really should be credited to the team’s ability to adapt and play hard. It is a difficult thing to do.”

To get there, the Bulldogs must first face a North Pike (5-3, 1-3) team Rigsby said is extremely strong.

“North Pike is a tough team. They are athletic and big,” he said. “They look impressive, and their skillset is dangerous.”

The Bulldogs last made the playoffs in 2015 when they lost in the first round to powerhouse Pearl River, 52-7.

Rigsby said while there is a chance Natchez would have to face another top team if it were to secure a spot in the postseason, that doesn’t worry him, either.

“We may have to play one of the top teams in the state. But, that’s not always a bad thing. It’s playoffs, so everybody is good,” he said. “Even if we don’t play someone of that stature, sooner or later we would have to. Might as well get it over with. Let’s play.”