Natchez looks to bounce back at Ocean Springs

Published 12:27 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Head Coach Steve Davis will lead his program to the Gulf Coast for a business trip. The 5A Natchez football team (0-3) is looking for its first win of the 2023 season when they play 7A Ocean Springs (2-1) in a non-district MHSAA game Friday night. 

Natchez fell just short of a win over 6A Vicksburg last week in overtime. The team regrouped and got back to work this week. Davis said they have been working on game planning and assignments. Monday’s practice was all about fine tuning the little things. 

Three games into the season and still searching for a win is not where Davis expected to be. 

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“This is what we wanted. We want to be battle tested and ready for district play,” Davis said. “We aren’t backing down from the challenge. We will go in ready to play. I didn’t think the start of this season would be this tough. I figured we would have won by now. We played hard last week so our message this week has been to finish. We didn’t finish last week and we are looking to finish.” 

The trip to Ocean Springs will not be a field trip. Natchez might stop for food and breaks but their focus is to play football. Friday nights are the payday for a week of grueling work to prepare for the big show.

Ocean Springs has a turf field but it will not be a factor in the game, Davis said. Natchez has played on turf before at Germantown. He said the field won’t dictate how the team plays football Friday night. 

Quarterback Kaden Walton had a tough Friday night and blamed himself for the loss to Vicksburg. He had a pass bounce off of a receiver into the hands of a Vicksburg defender right at the goalline in the fourth quarter and later fumbled at the five yard line in overtime. Natchez has rallied behind him, Davis said. 

“We had a long talk on Saturday. He felt the loss was on him but it was on me. Every loss is on me. All of the guys have rallied around him. We have fixed some things with his mechanics. He is locked in and will be ready to go Friday. We are all anxious to get the first notch in the win column.” 

Natchez will kickoff against Ocean Springs at 7 p.m.