Two former Natchez High Schools come together

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 23, 2019

NATCHEZ — Wayne Blackwell, 50, said he remembers being starting quarterback for the North Natchez High School Rams from 1985-1987.

“I was the first quarterback to play two years as the starter,” Blackwell said. “You didn’t get to play quarterback at North Natchez, unless you were a senior. You only had a chance to do it for one year.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the last game between the Rams and Colonels.

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In 1991, the two schools were consolidated to form Natchez High School.

To commemorate the last game between the Rams and Colonels, the former football players from both teams are going to be acknowledged during Friday night’s halftime of the Natchez High game vs. West Jones Mustangs.

Barney Schoby, 49, was a safety for the Rams and spearheaded this 30th reunion between North and South Natchez. Schoby said planning this reunion started via social media.

“We were on social media with some football players from both teams,” Schoby said. “Three of my teammates started talking about a reunion. I told them: ‘If you guys would help me, then I would spearhead it.’ That’s how it got started.”

Schoby said having this reunion means a lot to him and the other players.

“It means not only having community awareness passing down historical significance of these two schools to generations that didn’t know about it,” Schoby said. “These guys who are playing now at Natchez High, their fathers and their mothers were athletes at these two schools. I think the historical significance of these two schools existing and the athletic accomplishments between these two schools need to be passed down to younger generations, so they know this was their foundation to play football at Natchez High.”

Willie Morris, 49, played defensive tackle for South Natchez High School. Morris said the rivalry between the Rams and Colonels was a cross-town rivalry.

“You had two prominent schools in the city of Natchez,” Morris said. “The city of Natchez shut down because everybody was going to the game. Not too many people now show up for the Natchez High game. This rivalry between the two schools gave bragging rights to whoever won that year.”

Before Friday’s game, Schoby said he will start cooking ribs, burgers, chicken, sausage and hot dogs at 4 p.m. Schoby added he wants the food done by the time the game starts.

Schoby said the point of having reunions is to have them become annual events.

“These reunions give the players a chance to come back and share in their stories of what North and South Natchez football meant to them,” Schoby said. “Keeping the events going so the history wouldn’t die.”