DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Co-Lin freshman receiver Germie Martin (84) eludes Itawamba defender Benny McCall (44) to gain some big yards Thursday night in JUCO action at Stone Stadium.
DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Co-Lin freshman receiver Germie Martin (84) eludes Itawamba defender Benny McCall (44) to gain some big yards Thursday night in JUCO action at Stone Stadium.

Co-Lin races past Itawamba

Published 12:00pm Friday, August 29, 2014

WESSON – A hot start in Wesson paced the No. 3 Copiah-Lincoln Wolfpack to a season opening 37-13 win over the No. 19 Itawamba Indians in Wesson on Thursday night.

Co-Lin got two rushing touchdowns from sophomore running back De’Lance Turner in the first quarter and two receiving touchdowns from freshman wide receiver Donald Gray in the second quarter to help build a 30-3 halftime lead.

Turner, starting after serving as a backup last season, had a 3-yard and a 12-yard rushing touchdown to get Co-Lin off to a quick start in the first 15 minutes of action. Turner would finish with 132 yards on 11 rushes.

Gray, a Mississippi State commit, sat out last season after suffering an injury in the preseason. He more than made up for lost time in his return to the field. The Memphis native caught a 35-yard touchdown in the second quarter that put the home team up 23-3. It was his next catch that had the home fans howling and going on social media to brag about what they just saw. Co-Lin quarterback Daniel Fitzwater rolled out of the pocket and hit Gray in stride for a 40-yard gain. Gray would break three tackles and push down two defensive backs, carrying one of them into the end zone, on the way to a 65-yard touchdown reception.

Itawamba never stopped fighting, even after being down big at half. The first Indian drive of the second half resulted in a 51-yard touchdown pass from Kwadra Griggs to Grant Kimberlin. Itawamba would get field goals of 28-yards and 26-yards from Tyler Jackson. Greg Nickles connected on a 22-yard field goal for Co-Lin.

The Co-Lin defense forced two turnovers and harassed all three quarterbacks the Indians used. The first turnover came on a monster hit by defensive tackle Demond Tucker. Defensive end Ryan Duckworth recovered the fumble and returned it 12-yards. The Wolfpack also got an interception from freshman Dy-Celious Reese ‘that was returned 24-yards.

The fast start for Co-Lin wasn’t mirrored in the second half. Fitzwater was sacked twice and threw one interception. Co-Lin got nothing off of the Reese interception after his return took them inside the Itawamba 10-yard line. Fitzwater finished 25-for-35 with 399 yards passing.

With 12:16 remaining, Itawamba had pulled within 30-13 after Jackson’s second field goal. The Wolfpack would respond with a touchdown drive that salted the game away and was capped by Gray’s third touchdown catch of the night, this one coming from 4-yards out.

No. 3 Co-Lin returns to action next Thursday night when they travel to Scooba to take on the No. 1 East Mississippi Lions.