Big plays help Cathedral surge past Pisgah

Published 11:51 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

NATCHEZ — Noah Russ threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers and Kaden Batieste added two touchdown runs as the Cathedral High School Green Wave pulled away for a 41-14 win over the Pisgah High School Dragons Friday night.

It was Military Appreciation Night at D’Evereaux Stadium and it didn’t take long for MAIS Class 5A Cathedral to go to the air for its first touchdown of the game. Russ hooked up with Harper Jones on an 85-yard scoring pass to give the Green Wave a 7-0 lead with 5:45 to go in the first quarter.

“It was Military Appreciation Night and we were pretty amped up,” Cathedral head coach Chuck Darbonne said. “Timing was a little off on offense in the first half. But we got a couple of big plays.”

MHSAA Class 2A Pisgah responded by going to its ground game and that chewed up a lot of time off the clock in which the Dragons found the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.

“They gutted out a seven-minute drive where they ran on every play,” Darbonne said. “They were running the ball well in the first half. Our defensive staff made some great adjustments in the second half. (We) put a couple of kids in different positions. We were able to capitalize on them.”

The Green Wave went up 14-7 early in the second quarter and it remained that way until Paxton Junkin fielded a Dragons punt and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown with just 1:43 left until halftime for a 21-7 lead.

“We finished the first half, we had a little momentum with Paxton’s punt return. That gave us a jolt of energy right before halftime,” Darbonne said. “We scored three times in the second half.”

One of those scores was a 53-yard run by Batieste on fourth-and-four from Cathedral’s own 47-yard line with 1:49 remaining in the third quarter. That gave the Green Wave a commanding 34-14 lead.

Russ also threw touchdown passes of 10 yards to Christian Wright and eight yards to Jake Hairston. Batieste also had a three-yard touchdown run.

As for Russ’s performance, Darbonne said, “He made some big plays and made some good decisions. Scoring 41 points is always a good thing. He continues to progress every week.”

Cathedral (3-2) finishes its non-district schedule at 7 p.m. Friday when it travels to Vicksburg to take on arch-rival, and still winless, St. Aloysius High School.