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Natchez without head coach for first district game

Life threw the Natchez Bulldogs a curve ball on Sunday when head coach Dan Smith had to go into quarantine because of COVID. The Bulldog’s first district game is this week, he said.

He said he face timed the team during their game against Vicksburg, and he let them know the expectations he had for the team heading into district play against Forest Hill. Assistant coach Kevin Campbell will be in charge of the team until Smith can get back next week.

“I got everything laid out for him, so it is not that big of a deal, not right now anyway,” Smith said. “If it was the playoffs it would be. Right now it isn’t. I trust my staff, and my kids. They have been around me, and they know what I want.”

He said part of being a good coach is “being able to adjust on the fly,” as he will call Campbell during the game Thursday night against Forest Hill. The game was scheduled for Friday, but severe weather moved the game up.

Another curveball to the season came this week when severe weather canceled two games against Forest Hill this week. Those two games will be made up on April 2 in a double header, he said.

In order to win the first district game of the season, the Bulldogs will have to pitch and field a clean game, he said. Freshman Jaylin Davis will get the start on the mound, he said.

“Everybody is ready to go, but me,” Smith said. “We just have to adjust with it, and keep rolling. I don’t need anybody to get their head down and complain about it. It could be worse.”

It could be worse, a year ago the team was on the brink of starting their district slate of games when COVID-19 brought the season to a halt, he said. Now the Bulldogs are about to begin district play on the road.

A win against Forest Hill would give the Bulldogs confidence about this season, he said.

“We started the season with the goal to win district,” Smith said. “That will be one step closer, getting that first win out of the way.”

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