Natchez seniors keep Bulldogs alive in hunt for playoff spot

Published 1:52 am Saturday, October 21, 2017

For Natchez High School’s Shavoké Herrington, all he wanted was a win for his last home game in front of Bulldog fans.

And while Herrington got his wish — along with 20 other Natchez seniors on senior night — he more than did his part to make it happen, coming up with three of North Pike’s six turnovers Friday while scoring one touchdown en route to a 20-13 victory.

“I’m feeling good — I have tears of joy,” he said. “I just wanted to end it with a good win, my last home game.”

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“We started something for the younger ones. That’s all I wanted. I’m so ready to come back and watch them finish what we started.”

Herrington put the Bulldogs on the board just a little more than two minutes into the game, catching a 30-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Chris Scott.

The scoring drive took just two plays, after senior Chris Shropshire blocked a punt on North Pike’s first drive.

“They all got the edge and opened the hole,” Shropshire said. “I was looking for the ball, and I didn’t see it anymore so I knew I must have blocked it.”

On North Pike’s following drive, Herrington wasted no time once again marking territory for the Bulldogs.

As senior Jatavis Melton went up to defend a pass, he tipped the ball and it fell into the arms of Herrington. Herrington also intercepted another pass midway through the third quarter and recovered a fumble in the second quarter.

Melton did intercept a pass of his own early in the second quarter.

“There’s not too much I can say about them. They are playmakers,” Natchez coach Roy Rigsby said. “They keep their confidence regardless of the situation, and they come to play. It’s a great group of guys.”

Shropshire also recovered a fumble to stop a driving North Pike team in the red zone midway through the second quarter, holding the Jaguars to score their first touchdown just seconds before halftime.

While the Bulldogs did come up with a win, Rigsby said he expected a better overall effort from his team.

Natchez was threatened late in the game as North Pike put together a six-play drive as time wound down below a minute to go.

However, to avoid a potential overtime, senior Richard Wright intercepted a pass to seal the win.

Natchez still has to opportunity to reach the playoffs, needing to win its final two games for an away game in the first round.

“It is going to take better than we did tonight,” Rigsby said. “We have to go back to the board and get better — do better. That’s what we plan on doing this week. We have to do something.”

Scott ended the night with 143 yards on 12-of-22 passing with no interceptions. He also found Melton for a 17-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.

Senior EJ Woods scored the last touchdown for Natchez on a 25-yard run late in the first quarter.

Scott agreed after ending last season at 1-10, it was sweet to share Friday’s win with his fellow seniors.

“We wanted to win, and every game is crucial for us,” he said. “It’s amazing. This group grew up together. We all know that he can do just as well as I can do. If we stick together, there is nobody that can stop us.”

The Bulldogs (5-4, 2-3) are slated to travel to Forest Hill next week.