Natchez suffers heartbreak in double overtime
Published 11:07 pm Friday, September 8, 2023
NATCHEZ — A couple of inches and bad luck cost the Natchez Bulldogs on Friday as they fell 38-32 to Vicksburg in a double-overtime thriller.
Head Coach Steve Davis was pleased with the way the Bulldogs (0-3) gave everything in the non-district game, and he told the players afterwards that leaving it all on the field hurts sometimes.
“I’m proud of my guys, We just didn’t get some breaks to go our way, and we fell short,” Davis said. “The positive was we moved the football well and played with the tempo and pace that we want to play with. We flew around defensively and we were there. Vicksburg made some big plays.”
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The special teams play gave a huge advantage to the home team as 6A Vicksburg trailed going into halftime. The Bulldogs blocked a punt to take a 20-14 lead with 50 seconds left in the second quarter.
Natchez junior quarterback Kaden Walton had an unfortunate turnover for Natchez late in the game when a short pass was bobbled by a receiver and intercepted by a diving Vicksburg defender. The turnover gave the Gators the opportunity to tie the game at 26-26 with three minutes left.
Natchez senior running back Troy Jones scored the first touchdown in overtime to give Natchez a 32-26 lead. The Bulldog two-point conversion fell short of the goal line. Vicksburg wasted no time to score the tying touchdown, but also failed to score on the two-point conversion attempt.
Vicksburg took the lead in the second overtime on a rush up the middle to make it 38-32 but Natchez stopped the two-point conversion.
Natchez’s Walton fumbled the football at the 5 yard line in a heartbreaking overtime loss. He laid down on the field as Gator players celebrated around him.
“He is taking the loss hard, but we have to rally around him. We aren’t down on anyone,” Davis said. “We will take this game, watch the film and learn from it. He is our guy and we will stand behind him through thick and thin. We will make sure everything is good next week.”
The close game is a measuring stick for where Natchez is this season. It was a much better performance than the 41-0 loss to McComb last week. Davis said if the team keeps playing like they did against Vicksburg they will be good.
Natchez hopes to stay injury free as they travel to 6A Ocean Springs next week with kickoff at 7 p.m.