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Natchez High stays positive despite recent losses

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School head coach Roy Rigsby continues to have a positive attitude about his team’s play despite losing two of its last three regular-season games to finish as the No. 3 seed out of MHSAA Region 3-5A.

The Bulldogs will face a stiff test Friday night in the first round of the Class 5A South State Playoffs when they hit the road to take on the Region 4-5A No. 2 seed Picayune High School Maroon Tide. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Rigsby said the main emphasis of practice this week as the Bulldogs prepare for the Maroon Tide will be the same  — “focus and being physical.”

Despite an inexplicable loss at North Pike High School three weeks ago and a 29-point home loss to Region 3-5A champion Laurel High School last week, as well as a narrow 21-14 homecoming win over Forest Hill High School two weeks ago, Rigsby said that his team did not have any struggles during that stretch.

“North Pike was a good team. Forest Hill was a good team. Laurel is a championship-quality team. We’ve had good performances, even in the losses,” Rigsby said.

As to what it will take for Natchez High (7-4) to get a road win over a good Picayune team, Rigsby said, “It’s going to take being physical and execute at a high level.”

Picayune (8-3) went 6-1 in Region 3-5A, its only loss in region play coming at undefeated Hattiesburg High School 49-35 three weeks ago. The Maroon Tide enters the postseason on a two-game winning streak after winning at Pearl River Central High School 58-7 last week.

“They’re a good team. Well-coached. They have a physical trait. We have to match their physicality,” Rigsby said. They like to run a lot.”

If the Bulldogs’ defense is to slow down Picayune’s running game, Rigsby said, “The main thing is make tackles. Be physical and wrap up. Those are two things we have to do. They have quality running backs. Three good running backs and a great offensive line. We have to gang tackle.”

As far as the Maroon Tide’s defense, Rigsby said, “They run a 4-3 scheme. They have some good defensive ends. So we’re going to have our hands full.”

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