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At last: Co-Lin kicks off season Thurs. at Northwest

WESSON — After an extended layoff due to Hurricane Katrina, theCopiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves kick off their 2005 seasonThursday night against the Northwest Rangers in Senatobia. Kickoffis 6:30 p.m.

Co-Lin second-year head coach Glenn Davis said his Wolfpackeagerly anticipates the opener. Their Sept. 1 home debut againstHolmes Community College was canceled due to the hurricane. TheSept. 10 Northeast game also was canceled as presidents of theMACJC scrambled to adjust the schedule. The Sept. 15 game atdefending national champion Pearl River has been postponed untilNov. 3, at Poplarville.

Practice has been the only constant during the three-week delaywhich saw Co-Lin’s classes canceled the first week after thehurricane. League teams are playing a 7-game schedule, composedmainly of division games. The state playoffs will start a weeklater than usual.

“Our kids have handled it pretty good,” said Coach Davis. “Theyunderstand that things are out of our control. The administrationhandled it in the best way that it could be done.”

Davis said he hopes the mental aspect of football will be fresh.”Our kids have worked hard. I hope their minds are going to befresh. I hope we haven’t lost anything conditioning-wise.”

Northwest, a longtime juggernaut, is under the direction of newhead coach Randy Pippin. He replaces Bobby Franklin who retiredafter 201 wins, 24 seasons and six state championships, plus twonational titles.

Starting on offense for the Wolves are Damayon Carroll (6-5,190, fr.) of Hazlehurst and Lee Evans (5-10, 195, soph.) of CrystalSprings, and Bud Chatman (6-5, 235, fr.) of Brookhaven at widereceiver.

The offensive line includes left tackle Damien Jones (6-6, 299,soph.) of Crystal Springs, left guard Zach Ray (6-3, 305, fr.) ofBrookhaven, center Kyle Tutor (6-2, 283, fr.) of Meadville, rightguard Michael Davis (6-2, 325, soph.) of Fayette, right tackle J.D.Hamilton (6-4, 290, soph.) of Natchez and tight end Deandre Davis(6-3, 241, fr.) of Meadville..

In the backfield are quarterback Cedric Johnson (5-10, 166, fr.)of Americus, Ga., fullback Matt Delaughter (5-11, 212, fr.) ofBrookhaven (Loyd Star), and tailback Rayshawn Robinson (6-0, 180,fr.) of Americus, Ga..

Nick Gunter (5-8, 156, fr.) of Wesson will punt and ChrisBlackwell (5-10, 179, soph.) of Meadville will kick from placement.Tutor serves as long snapper.

“We don’t know a whole lot about Northwest,” said Coach Davis.”They have a new head coach in Randy Pippin. Most of the assistantsare new, too.”

Traditionally, the Rangers are a powerhouse, usually making thestate playoffs, either as North Division champion or runner-up.

“Northwest has a mighty strong district,” said Davis. “They havea big area to recruit from.”

Co-Lin picked up a bonus last week when Philip Tobias leftSouthern Miss and transferred to the Wesson campus. Tobias, aredshirt freshman, was playing defensive nose tackle at USM butwasn’t on the traveling squad.

“We were fortunate to get Philip Tobias in school last week,”said Davis. “He is working to get caught up.”

Co-Lin Defense

Co-Lin defensive coordinator Brett Shufelt said the followingplayers would start against Northwest. On Co-Lin’s defense, theends are Rylan Wilson (6-5, 250, soph.) from Toano, Va.; and GregPorter (6-1, 228, soph.) of Hazlehurst. At tackle are Rex Hill(6-3, 312, soph.) of Marathon, Fla., and Jessie Bowman (6-1, 334,fr.) of Brookhaven.

Linebackers are David Berry (5-9, 186, soph.) and Blake Spears(6-2, 210, fr.), both of Brandon; and Luke Ogden (6-2, 231, soph.)of Natchez.

The secondary includes Alton Dowdell (5-10, 189, fr.) of BelleGlade, Fla. and Charles McCrea (5-11, 201, soph.) Hollywood, Fla.,at cornerback, Kruz Long (6-1, 185, fr.) of Jackson Provine at freesafety and Michael Blackwell (5-11, 195, soph.) of Bogue Chitto atstrong safety.

“We hear they are really big up front in the offensive line,”said Shufelt. “They’re always good.”

Wolf Tails: Last year Northwest whipped Co-Lin 54-27, atWesson.