Irving leads Bulldogs to victory on homecoming night

Published 10:55 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School entered its homecoming game against MHSAA Region 3-5A foe South Jones High School down its starting, second-string, and third-string quarterbacks because of injuries. However, head coach Steve Davis did not panic at all.

Davis went to a player known for making plays on defense than offense to go under center for the Bulldogs Friday night — junior outside linebacker/tight end Jakel Irving. And the move paid off as they cruised to a 36-0 win over the Braves at Tom F. Williams Memorial Stadium to remain undefeated in region play.

“We knew from the film they were a young team. With Kaden (Walton), Caron Williams, and Kameron Morgan out, we wanted to run the ball,” Davis said. “We knew we could control the trenches, so once we established that early, we played old-school, smash-mouth football.”

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With Irving not only playing at quarterback but also a lot on defense, Davis kept the game plan simple — just continue to run the ball until South Jones (2-6, 0-2) could do something about it. The Braves could not. Natchez High ran for 287 yards and threw for only 35 yards.

“The other guys on offense, they rallied around him. They helped him with the signals. Big shout-out to Ja’kari Douglas and Carl McDonald. They helped us out back there,” Davis said. “We had a couple of missed blocks. But other than that, we ran the ball very, very well.”

Natchez High led South Jones 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and then proceeded to added to its lead over the next three quarters. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ defense made sure the Braves would not get on the scoreboard at all.

And it was Irving on that side of the ball who scored the first touchdown of the game for the Bulldogs. The Braves were in the red zone when they fumbled the ball and Irving picked up and ran it back for a score.

“Defense scored the first touchdown for us. It was a big night for (Jakel). He carried us tonight,” Davis said.

Natchez High (4-4, 2-0) plays host to region opponent Florence High School next Friday at 7 p.m. The Eagles improved to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in region play after a 28-16 win on the road over North Pike High School.