Wolves whip Rangers
SENATOBIA — A bruising rushing attack and a strong defensiveeffort proved to be the difference for the Copiah-Lincoln Wolves intheir 16-6 win over the Northwest Rangers at Ranger Field Thursdaynight.
The Wolves (1-0) forced three NWCC fumbles in the second half,with two leading directly to 10 points while three players rushedfor at least 53 yards against the new-look Ranger defense.
The 20th-ranked Rangers, who beat the Wolves 54-27 in Wessonlast season, dropped their first game under new coach Randy Pippin,who took over for Bobby Franklin this past spring.
Co-Lin never trailed in the contest and were just four and ahalf minutes away from posting a shutout over the Rangers, whoaveraged 448.2 yards per game overall in 2004 and 312 on theground.
“I thought our kids kept fighting and I think our size up frontkind of wore on them,” Co-Lin coach Glenn Davis said. “I think usgoing no huddle was something that they didn’t expect too much. Wehadn’t done too much of it in the past but it’s something we’redoing this year and we tried to give them something they hadn’tseen.”
Freshman running back Rashawn Robinson paced the Co-Lin rushingattack with 97 yards on 22 carries while freshman quarterbackCedric Johnson rushed for 58 yards on nine carries. Johnson wasalso 10 of 22 passing for 135 yards and a touchdown on thenight.
“Our backs ran hard and our quarterbacks played well,” Davissaid. “We still have some things we can correct but I was proud ofthe way they played.” Pippin, who lost starting quarterback WillSneed early in the ballgame to a fractured clavicle in hisshoulder, thought the penalties (10 for 90 yards) and the turnoverswere the difference.
“Football is a pretty simple game and the team that makes thefewest turnovers and penalties usually wins. We didn’t do thattoday,” Pippin said. “We are pretty young on offense and ourquarterback went out early but there is no excuses.”
With Sneed out, Pippin turned to freshman quarterback LarryHenderson to direct the offense. Henderson started slowly but was8-for-12 for 122 yards and a touchdown in the second half after hestarted 1-for-2 for just 5 yards.
“He got some things going and played pretty well,” Pippin said.”We had a lot of stock in him (Sneed) because he was a returner andwe made him the man. He got all the reps in practice and it createsa serious challenge when that (injury) happens.”
Co-Lin ran 74 plays compared to 56 for the Rangers.
Although the Ranger defense were able to hold the Wolves out ofthe end zone a good portion of the game, the amount of playsstarted to wear on the unit in the later stages of the contest.
“That’s their game,” Pippin said of Co-Lin’s offense. “They wantto run and control the clock. I don’t know what they were like lastyear but it looked like they had some healthy, well fed kids.Glenn’s done a nice job of turning that program around in oneyear.”
The first half was dominated by both defenses. Co-Lin got theonly points of the half on a 26-yard field goal by Chris Blackwellon the Wolves’ first drive but neither team did much the rest ofthe way.
The 11-play drive was stopped early on but an illegalsubstitution penalty on the Rangers allowed the Wolves to keep theball at the Ranger 39. Northwest’s first turnover Â one of threefumbles by running back Terrance Jackson Â led to the firsttouchdown of the game.
Johnson capped a three-play, 16-yard drive at the 14:30 mark ofthe third quarter when he found wide receiver Maurice Taylor for a12-yard score.
The Wolves padded their lead with two more field goals byBlackwell in the quarter. The first Âa 41-yarder Âcame at the 5:12mark after the Wolves forced a Ranger punt while the second Âa19-yarder Â came at the 2:35 mark after Jackson’s second fumble onthe ensuing kickoff.
Northwest had a chance to cut into Co-Lin’s 16 point lead on thefirst play of the fourth quarter. The Rangers stared the drive attheir own 27 and had driven to the Co-Lin 6 when Jackson wasstripped trying to get extra yards at the 4.
Co-Lin then ran 10 plays and drove to the Rangers’ 27 beforeBlackwell missed a 44-yard attempt.
The Rangers lone touchdown came after Blackwell’s miss whenHenderson engineered an eight-play, 73-yard drive that was cappedwhen he found wideout Robert Moore for a 22-yard score.
Northwest recovered the onside kick but the Co-Lin defensestiffened and forced the Rangers to turn the ball over after fourplays.
Jackson led the Rangers with 140 yards on 17 carries whileCo-Lin running back Johnathan Williams spelled Robinson in thesecond half and ended up with 53 yards on 14 carries.
Northwest will be back in action next Thursday at Holmes for itsfirst North Division game. Co-Lin entertains Gulf Coast in Wessonfor homecoming on Saturday, Oct 1.