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Local, area football teams make changes to 2020 football schedules

NATCHEZ — One local high school varsity football team and two area teams have had to make drastic changes to their 2020 schedules this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Natchez High School was scheduled to host Velma Jackson High School out of Camden in its season opener Friday night. Now the Bulldogs will host the Wesson Attendance Center Cobras.

Another change will now have Natchez High having an open date on Sept. 11 after Wilkinson County High School decided not to play any of its non-region games. Which means no game featuring first-year head coaches in the Bulldogs’ Randy Craft and the Wildcats’ Jeffery “Bo” Gibson.

The Bulldogs still host Vicksburg High School on Sept. 18, but now they will host Jefferson County High School on Sept. 25 and play at North Pike High School on Oct. 2.

Earlier this month, Jackson Public Schools announced that no schools in their district will play football this fall. And that means fewer opponents in MHSAA Region 3-5A for Natchez High as well as fewer games overall.

Natchez High then turns to the Region 3-5A portion of its schedule — at Laurel High School on Oct. 9; at West Jones High School on Oct. 23 after a bye week on Oct. 16; home against Brookhaven High School; and at South Jones High School on Nov. 6.

Wilkinson County High School

Gibson said the decision not to play any games in September was made by the Wilkinson County School Board.

“The school board made the decision for the safety of the kids,” Gibson said. “I’m just happy to have a season to play.”

The Wildcats will play only three MHSAA Region 7-3A games this season after Port Gibson High School decided last week not to play football this fall. They will play at Franklin County High School on Oct. 2; host Jefferson County High School on Oct. 9; and play at Hazlehurst High School on Oct. 16.

Jefferson County High School

Just like Natchez High, Jefferson County High School has also had to make a recent change in its season-opening opponent. The Tigers were to travel to Wiggins to play Stone High School Friday night, but now they will host Humphreys County High School.

Then on Sept. 11, Jefferson County plays at Crystal Springs High School. The Tigers play host to East Marion High School on Sept. 18 before playing at Natchez High on Sept. 25. They will have an open week on Oct. 2 due to Port Gibson not playing football this fall, head coach James Herrington said Monday.

That would have been the Region 7-3A opener for Jefferson County, but now that will fall on Oct. 9 at Wilkinson County. The Tigers were then to play at North Forrest High School on Oct. 16, but Herrington said that North Forrest decided last week that it, too, will not play football this fall. So now that will be yet another open week for the Tigers.

They will play host to Hazlehurst High School on Oct. 23 before finishing their regular season on Oct. 30 at Franklin County High School.

Franklin County High School

Franklin County head football coach B.J. Smithhart said the only change made to his schedule is Port Gibson, which the Bulldogs were to play on the road on Oct. 16.

 

Below are the updated football schedules for Natchez High, Wilkinson County High School, Jefferson County and Franklin High School.

 

Natchez High School

vs. Wesson Attendance Center (Sept. 4)

Open week (Sept. 11)

vs. Vicksburg High School (Sept. 18)

vs. Jefferson County High School (Sept. 25)

at North Pike High School (Oct. 2)

at Laurel High School (Oct. 9)

Open week (Oct. 16)

at West Jones High School (Oct. 23)

vs. Brookhaven High School (Oct. 30)

at South Jones High School (Nov. 6)

 

Wilkinson County High School

at Franklin County High School (Oct. 2)

vs. Jefferson County High School (Oct. 9)

at Hazlehurst High School (Oct. 16)

 

Jefferson County High School

vs. Humphreys County High School (Sept. 4)

at Crystal Springs High School (Sept. 11)

vs. East Marion High School (Sept 18)

at Natchez High School (Sept. 25)

Open week (Oct. 2)

at Wilkinson County High School (Oct. 9)

Open week (Oct. 16)

vs. Hazlehurst High School (Oct. 23)

at Franklin County High School (Oct. 30)

 

Franklin High School

vs. North Pike High School (Sept. 4)

vs. Wesson Attendance Center (Sept. 11)

vs. Amite County High School (Sept. 18)

at Raymond High School (Sept. 25)

vs. Wilkinson County High School (Oct. 2)

at Hazlehurst High School (Oct. 9)

Open week (Oct. 16)

Open week (Oct. 23)

vs. Jefferson County High School (Oct. 30)