By Patrick Murphy
The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — A pick-six sealed the fate for Natchez in Thursday night’s 48-14 Laurel victory over the Bulldogs.
The victory sets up a huge game on Oct. 18, when Laurel will play at West Jones, which was heavily favored to defeat Forest Hill on Friday night, with the Leader-Call Battle for the Belt championship at stake.
The Laurel Tornadoes scored seven touchdowns in the contest.
“I thought we struggled offensively at times, but we found other ways to score tonight,” head coach Todd Breland said. “When one side struggled, the other side picked them up. The way the kids and coaches handled this week, I’m proud of them.”
Amir Smith scored two rushing touchdowns in the first half. The first was for 15 yards, and the second was for 18 yards.
Xavier Evans was 6-of-9 for 47 yards, including a TD pass to Ajaveon Hatten, and Evans had a team-high 79 yards on only four carries. Dexter Scott had five carries for 56 yards and a TD as the Naders finished with 265 yards on the ground.
The defense also put points on the board when freshman Jeremy Porter returned an interception for a TD and Rashad Love had a scoop-and-score.
Special teams also contributed with Jeremiah Henderson returning a kickoff for a TD and with William Mora connecting on 6 of 7 extra points.