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Natchez High aims to win first game of 2020 season against Vicksburg High

NATCHEZ — When the Natchez High School Bulldogs take the field on Friday night against the Vicksburg High School Gators, Nickie Davis, the Bulldogs’ linebacker coach, will be happy to face his former Alcorn State University football teammate, who now coaches the Gators.

Davis played with Todd McDaniel, the Gators’ head coach, for three seasons at ASU, from 1997 to 2000. Davis said Friday night’s game means much more to him than any other game because he gets to face his former Braves’ teammate.

The Bulldogs (0-1) come into Friday’s game after a 34-20 loss to the Wesson Attendance Center Cobras on Sept. 4. Natchez High School did not play last week against Magee High School due to a Magee player testing positive for COVID-19.

“At practices, we have been focusing on working on our defense,” Davis said. “Vicksburg is a real run heavy team. Our defensive players need to recognize what they are trying to do and stop their offense. We need to react and make plays on defense.”

Four Bulldogs to watch in the game are Kyreek Murray, Raymone Bowman, Jerome Timmons and DK McGruder.

Murray threw six completions for 173 yards and two touchdown passes. The longest touchdown pass was to Traylon Minor for 85 yards. Murray said he’s trying to focus on getting better on one thing every day with his passes.

“I focused on my footwork at Wednesday’s practice,” Murray said. “I’m trying to get quick steps to throw the ball.”

On defense, Bowman and Timmons both tied for eight total tackles in the game against Wesson. Timmons said he feels like it’s a competition between him and Bowman to lead the team on defense.

“We push each other to do better with this friendly competition,” Timmons said. “Our defensive play is going to be excellent because we have some great players on defense. I trust my teammates to make plays and I feel like we should come out with the win on Friday.”

Another key stand out on defense is McGruder, who had an interception against Wesson and said he is going to try and help the team in any way possible.

The Gators (0-2) come into Friday’s game after a 27-0 to Biloxi High School last Friday. Vicksburg High School has not scored a point this season. Davis said he is not worried about the lack of points the Gators have scored.

“It’s a whole new culture in Vicksburg,” Davis said. “I have seen them on film and they have the capability to move the football up and down the field.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday at Natchez High School.