McDonald Jr. scores 3 TDs as Natchez High rallies to beat Hazlehurst

Published 12:59 am Saturday, September 30, 2023

NATCHEZ — For the second straight week, MHSAA Class 5A Natchez High School found itself trailing a Class 3A team at halftime. Only this time, head coach Steve Davis was not at all thrilled with his team’s lackluster first-half performance.

Down 20-6 at halftime to a good Hazlehurst High School team, Natchez High decided to become the aggressor on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs’ defense got some key stops and the offense was led by Carl McDonald Jr. as they fought back for a 22-20 win over the Indians last Friday night.

As for what happened to the Bulldogs in the first half, Davis said. “It was an embarrassment the way we played. We did not come to play. We had no life. We were listless. We turned the ball. We continued to shoot ourselves in the foot. We turned the ball, all of which led to us being down 20-6 at halftime.

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Another thing Davis was not happy about was the number of penalty flags being through that he said “killed the flow of the game.”

“It was a flag-heavy game. Both teams played hard, but there was too much laundry on the field,” Davis added.

As for how Natchez High was able to turn things around in the second half, Davis said, “We turned it on. Defense got some key stops. Carl McDonald (Jr.), we rode him the entire second half just to get the second half going.”

Did he ever. McDonald Jr. finished with 24 carries for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Yet despite the win, Davis said his team much play better — especially with Region 3-5A play starting next week.

“We’re still searching for that killer mentality. We’ve got to play strong for four quarters and finish games,” David said.

Natchez High (2-4) travels to Summit to take on Region 3-5A newcomer North Pike High School next Friday at 7 p.m.