Natchez snaps playoff drought

Published 11:26 pm Friday, October 27, 2023

NATCHEZ — It was not the prettiest 5A district win for Natchez but beating Provine 30-18 clinched a playoff spot going into the final game of the MHSAA 5A season next week. Natchez last made the playoffs in 2018. 

Head Coach Steve Davis was a little frustrated with his team Friday night. Penalties, a  muffed punt inside the 10 and flat start to the game made the contest tighter than it should have been. 

It was in part frustrating to him because Natchez had such strong practices this week. He expected more from his team. Provine and Natchez were tied 18-18 with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter when senior Darius Williams stepped up to make a huge play for the Bulldogs. Williams grabbed a loose fumble and ran for a touchdown.

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“It changed the game. They fumbled the ball and it was ironic. We tease him everyday in practice that you can never scoop and score. He did it and it was very very crucial,” Davis said. “We got momentum and it was very very huge. Gary Bailey then got the pick and Damarccus Blanton ran for a touchdown to ice the game.” 

Natchez’s victory snaps a five year playoff drought and sets up a crucial regular season finale against Brookhaven next Thursday. Davis said they will be battling for second place in district and an opportunity to host a playoff game. 

Brookhaven is no easy task. Xavier Gayten, a Mississippi State commit, is a powerful running back and will keep the Bulldogs busy next week. The good news, Natchez will make the playoffs no matter what happens. 

“We will need to beat them. We lost to Florence so we would rather win out than go through a tie-breaker. Battling for second and third seed, it’s a good feeling to know we have secured a spot in the playoffs,” Davis said. “I’m happy for the kids and the coaches.”