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Natchez High Bulldogs fall to Jefferson County Tigers

By Patrick Murphy

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — In the 54 years of the U.S. 61 rivalry game between Natchez High School and Jefferson County High School, the Tigers had only beaten the Bulldogs three times, until Friday night.

The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs for a fourth time, 22-20, Friday night.

After the Bulldogs scored on a 78-yard run by Mike Williams, the Tigers were down, 20-16, with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter. It was a 21-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 6 seconds left. It was led by first-year starting quarterback Marques Smith.

“I just told them in the huddle: ‘Let’s bring it home,’” Smith said. “They came up, I fought and I scored.”

Early in the first quarter, the Tigers attempted to punt, but the ball went over the punter’s head and was recovered at the 11-yard-line. The Bulldogs would later score on a two-yard run by Kyreek Murray.

Then, with the Tigers starting their second drive on the 22-yard-line, it was a fumble recovered by the Bulldogs at the 25-yard-line with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter. The Bulldogs would go three-and-out. Later in the second quarter with 5:45 in the second quarter, the Bulldogs were able to sack Smith in the endzone, making it 8-0.

“I think the defensive line played above the line,” Natchez head coach Roy Rigsby said. “We’ve got some things to clean up in the secondary. It’s the same story from last week. The difference is last week we won. This week, it caught us.”

From the beginning of the second quarter, the Bulldogs would allow only 78 yards. It was a 30-yard pass by Smith to Kendrick January which led to a Tigers touchdown with 26 seconds left in the second quarter. Tigers head coach James Herrington said his team worked hard to tie up the game.

“Our moto is ‘beat the rock until it breaks,’” Herrington said. “We just kept beating off the rock and it paid off tonight.”

The Bulldogs would receive the ball to begin the third quarter. Desnick Bolden and James Singleton would lead the Bulldogs down to the two yard-line. Bolden would run for 22-yards while Singleton ran for 44-yards. But they came up short and would turn the ball over on the two-yard-line.

Smith would lead the Tigers to another touchdown. Running back Jaheime Herrington would have 57 yards on the Tigers drive on their way to a 6-yard touchdown run by Smith, making it 16-8 with 31 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs (1-1) will face Velma Jackson when they will travel to Camden next week. The Tigers (1-1) will travel to Odessa, Texas.