Natchez heads to must-win game at Laurel for playoff spot

Published 11:42 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

On the more than two-hour bus ride the Natchez High School football team will take today to face Laurel for its final regular season game of the year, coach Roy Rigsby doesn’t expect there to be much talking.

But, he likes that.

The Bulldogs (6-4, 3-3) are set for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Golden Tornadoes (6-4, 4-2), with a loss dousing their chances at a place in the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs.

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“On the bus, they usually lock in and focus,” Rigsby said. “They are thinking about their assignments and what the environment is going to be like.”

Rigsby said while he’d much rather his players take a focused mindset on their travels, he even suggested he doesn’t think there is such a thing as preparing too much.

“We want them to think about all situations they possibly can,” he said. “They can think as much as possible, and the most important thing is for their concentration level to intensify. We don’t want to be caught off guard by anything.”

Natchez kept its chances at a postseason run alive last week with a win on the road over Forest Hill, 40-6.

EJ Woods rushed for 273 yards and two touchdowns, while Chris Scott threw for one score and rushed for another in the win.

Laurel is coming off a win over North Pike, 41-6.

While Natchez sits on the bubble waiting to determine its own playoff fate, Rigsby said it won’t necessarily be easy.

“This week is for everything,” Rigsby said. “The way we had figured it, we envisioned going down to Laurel and fighting for our life. We knew they would be one of the quality teams.”

Not only does Natchez have to win for a spot in the playoffs, it must win by three points to secure it. If it does not win by more than three, playoff seeding will be determined by South Jones’ final game result, who also has a district record of 3-3.

“It is an interesting scenario,” Rigsby said. “Laurel has a couple of running backs that are impressive and a defense that attacks the ball, but we are excited.”