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|Ferriday falls to Natchez|
It was the kind of beginning Ferriday High head football coach Chad Harkins needed. But it was also a preview of what was to come.
Ferriday forced Natchez into an early turnover in Bulldog territory, but was unable to capitalize in a 14-0 loss to the 6A Bulldogs.
"I don't think we were outmanned or outclassed," said Ferriday coach Chad Harkins. "I think we were out-lasted."
"I think we were better on the physical end because we didn't have to leave the field and they had to play both ways, which was an advantage for us," said Natchez coach Lance Reed. "We knew Ferriday was going to give us all we wanted."
On the first play from scrimmage, Ferriday High's ZuRaine Thompson jarred the ball loose from Natchez High quarterback Javon Washington and the Trojans recovered the loose ball on the Bulldog 28-yard line.
Following an incompletion, De'Vante Scott carried the ball to the Natchez 23 and Thompson followed with a three-yard run to give the Trojans fourth-and-two at the Natchez 20.
Scott then scampered 15 yards to the five yard line.
But Marques Lewis was stopped after a one-yard gain, Scott lost a yard on second down and was held to no gain on third down. Thompson was dropped on the Bulldog nine on fourth down.
Natchez moved the ball to its own 19-yard line where Washington hit Trevon Chatman on a pass to the Ferriday 39.
Two plays later, Washington connected with Damion Williams on a 33-yard scoring play. Michael Thompson added the first of two point-after kicks with 5:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Ferriday started its next possession at the Natchez 48. A 13-yard run by Scott was negated by a penalty. Ferriday was forced to punt from the Natchez 41.
Scott intercepted a Washington pass to stop a drive at his own 38 late in the second quarter.
Following a punt, Thompson picked off a Washington pass at his won 45-yard line and returned it to the Bulldog 16 with 1:32 remaining.
Scott carried twice from the Wildcat formation to the Bulldog 11. Thompson then threw a pass to the back of the end zone where Alfred Brown came down with the ball with two Natchez defenders on him. His feet appeared to come down inside the back line before falling back out of the end zone, but the pass was ruled incomplete.
A fourth-down pass fell incomplete to leave Ferriday trailing 7-0 at halftime.
Both teams turned the ball over on fumbles on their first possessions of the second half.
Thompson hit Brown on a 56-yard pass play to the 17-yard line. But a fumble stopped that drive.
Natchez used the running of Joey Bruce to carry the ball to the 11-yard line where Kevin Bailey got the call twice, which his second carry covering two yards and a touchdown with 8:29 remaining in the third quarter.
"We definitely needed this type of game," Reed said. "Playing Ferriday made us a better team."
Bailey rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries. Scott, who left the game in the third quarter with a bruised chest, had 36 yards on 10 carries, while Brown had three catches for 64 yards.
"We needed somebody competitive to show us some of our problems," Harkins said. "We got to play against a team that matches up athletically with us. We weren't in game shape, and it showed. At least we got to see some of the problems we need to correct. It was a decent effort, but we got a little fatigued at the end."
Ferriday hosts Block Friday.
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