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Natchez hopes to get a win on road to Wingfield

NATCHEZ — The Natchez High School Bulldogs will look to get back to their winning ways today at 7 p.m. when they travel to Jackson to take on the winless Wingfield High School Falcons in the MHSAA Region 3-5A opener for both teams.

Natchez High is 2-1 overall after losing at home to defending Class 3A state champion and No. 3 Jefferson Davis County 40-12. Wingfield is 0-5 overall after a 32-19 loss at Canton High School last week.

Bulldogs head coach Roy Rigsby said it did not take the players very long to get over that loss and start preparing for Wingfield.

As for what the mood of the players has been in practice this week, Rigsby said, “They’re refocused. They understand that when it’s over, it’s over. You get 24 hours to celebrate (a win). You have to get focused for your next opponent.”

And if that wasn’t enough, Natchez High, like every other team throughout the state, has had to practice in 95-degree heat and a heat index of over 100 degrees this week.

“This week has been trying, as it was last week. We had difficulty during the game (last Friday night) with players cramping up. We’ve been putting in measures to keep them from dehydrating and getting cramps. Because this heat is serious,” Rigsby said.

Despite their winless record, the Falcons have been more competitive through four of their first five games this season with only Terry High School beating them by more than 14 points.

Which is a stark contrast from this time last season when nearly all of the opponents were beating them by more than 20 points. And that included Natchez High, which won at home over Wingfield 31-6.

“A lot of times you look at a team’s record and a whole lot is weighed by that. That’s not true. They played Canton, who is a very good football team. They played (Class 6A) Terry.” Rigsby said. “They’re athletic at wide receiver, at quarterback. Their offensive tackle is athletic. They have athletes that are real dangerous.”

One thing the Bulldogs must do is get off to a fast start. While they were able to overcome slow starts in comeback wins over Jefferson County and Port Gibson, they fell behind 27-0 to Jefferson Davis County, which Rigsby said was too big of a deficit to get out of.

Yet he attributed the slow starts to being a young and inexperienced football team after losing several seniors from last year’s team.

“We lost 26 seniors. We’re basically sophomore-heavy. The youth plays a part in it,” Rigsby said. “It’s the lights. Experience usually heals up that youth, that inexperience. It’s not like they’re (not) prepared for it. They have to get in the groove of it.”

Kemper County at Wilkinson County

WOODVILLE — Another team that looks to get back on the winning track today is Wilkinson County High School. And it will be the battle of the Wildcats as Wilkinson County plays host to Kemper County High School at 7 p.m.

Since its season-opener at Natchez High was cancelled due to lightning, Wilkinson County shut its first three opponents before suffering its first loss of 2018 last week, a 21-6 setback at LHSAA Class 3A St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace, La.

The host Wildcats will take on a Kemper County team that is 0-5 overall after losing at West Lauderdale High School last week 50-8. The visiting Wildcats have given up at least 36 points and have scored no more than 18 points in each of their first five games.

In fact, since the start of the 2017 season, Kemper County has won just three of its last 17 games. This after going 15-1 and winning the Class 3A state championship just two years ago under then-head coach Chris Jones.

However, when these two teams faced each other last year in DeKalb, it was a low-scoring game as Wilkinson County held on for a 15-8 victory.

Franklin County at Jefferson Davis County

MEADVILLE — The Franklin County High School Bulldogs are still searching for their first win of the 2018 season, but having to travel to Bassfield to take on Class 3A No. 3 Jefferson Davis County today at 7 p.m. will be no easy task.

Two weeks ago, Franklin County (0-5) was very competitive against a good Lumberton team and lost by just nine points, 33-24. Last week, however, was a completely different story as the Bulldogs had just three first downs and 107 yards of total offense in a 28-0 loss at Class 4A Lawrence County High School.

Now comes defending state champion Jefferson Davis County (3-2). The Jaguars ended a two-game losing streak with their decisive 28-point win at Class 5A Natchez High School.

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