Natchez Bulldogs suffer tough loss at hands of Gautier

Published 9:38 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

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GAUTIER — Natchez ended its season and by losing 50-19 on the road at Gautier in the first round of the MHSAA 5A playoffs Friday night. Gautier was actually down 12-6 late in the second quarter when mental mistakes took its toll.

Gautier scored on a kickoff that was not recovered by Natchez and took a 15-12 lead into half. Natchez Head Coach Steve Davis said the team came unglued from there. Mental mistakes and dumb penalties tore the game out of the Bulldogs control and placed it in the Gators hands.

“After the half, we fumbled on the kickoff and they scored. It went downhill from there,” Davis said. ”I’m still trying to put my finger on it. The things we cover and talk about every day. Things we try to make sure of that our kids understand. We lose our focus and just lose it. We get caught up in other things rather than focus on us and playing Natchez football. We need to be mentally tough. We got better but have longer to go.”

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Davis said he is not content or pleased with the end of the season. Nearly every game the Bulldogs lost was due to costly errors. He said he is not a big moral victory guy but they did accomplish a few goals this season.

One of those goals was to reach the MHSAA 5A playoffs and end a playoff drought which they did. The first round loss will be a stepping stone for next season as the program continues to build and move forward. He will miss several seniors who helped lead the way this season.

“I’ll ​​miss Troy Jones for sure. He is a great kid and young man and love him to death. I respect him a lot for all he is. His leadership and play is special. It will be heavily missed,” Davis said. “I’ll miss Darius Williams. When we started off here he  was one of those kids who was a challenge. I wish I had one more year with him. He grew and became a leader in his play. I’ll miss Landon Moore. Just a quiet kid who works and works. His leadership also. Gary Bailey I’ll miss. They all stand out to me right now.”

He told his team after the game to keep their heads up. The season didn’t end how they wanted it to end but it starts the next season for underclassmen and the next chapter for seniors

Natchez will now plan off-season meetings. Coaches will talk and sit to get ready for next year.

“I told the seniors we can meet to plan the future for colleges and what they have going on. The underclassmen need to get ready to work,” Davis said. “Me and the staff will be there supporting the seniors. I always like to sit with the seniors after the season and talk about future goals and plans. I see where I can help them out and follow them after the season. Make sure everything is going like it should. We won’t stop being a family or coach. We are always here for them.”