Johnson hurls 4 TDs; Co-Lin routs Rangers

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2006

WESSON — Thursday night belonged to the Co-Lin Wolfpack. Theycapitalized on turnovers and Co-Lin quarterback Cedric Johnsonthrew four touchdown passes in leading the Wolfpack to a 33-7season-opening victory over the Northwest Community CollegeRangers.

Johnson (5-10, 166), a sophomore from Americus, Ga., looked ayear older and wiser in directing the Co-Lin offense in StoneStadium. A large home crowd cheered with enthusiasm as he threw apair of touchdown passes to backup quarterback/wide receiver ThomasHinton, Jr. of Prentiss covering 29 and 63 yards. He also hooked upwith Darius Williams (53 yards) and Damoyn Carroll (19 yards) forTDs as the Wolves christened their new scoreboard with a convincingtriumph.

“We have been working hard in the offseason, lifting weights andon the field,” said Johnson, after receiving hugs andcongratulations from his family after the game. “I knew thecornerback wasn’t that good, so we had to go over the top for thebig ones.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Johnson completed 11 of 16 passes for 222 yards and 4 TDs. Ithelped compensate for an anemic rushing attack which managed just21 total yards on 17 rushes.

“I thought Cedric played well,” said Co-Lin head coach GlennDavis. “He settled down and threw some good balls. After lastseason, I challenged him to become more consistent. He’s adifference-maker.”

Davis, a Tunica native, said the win was special to him. “I grewup about 20 minutes from Northwest. That’s where I’m from.”

Last year Co-Lin finished 1-6, its only win coming overNorthwest and Coach Randy Pippin in a hurricane-shortened season.Pippin’s Rangers lost 5 fumbles and 3 of them led to Co-Lintouchdowns.

The first miscue came late in the first quarter when Rangerrunner Bryan Fitzgerald of Southaven fumbled at the Co-Lin 48 anddefensive tackle Jessie Bowman recovered. Three plays later,Johnson rolled to his right and hooked up with Williams on a53-yard scoring pass.

On the next Northwest possession, runner Zesron Johnson ofHernando fumbled. Co-Lin’s Clarence Pendleton scooped up thefootball and raced 58 yards to paydirt. Nick Gunter’s PAT kick putCo-Lin up 13-0 with 13:44 left in the half.

The Rangers continued to fumble on the next series. This timequarterback Robert Glover was working out of the shotgun formationwhen the center’s snap sailed over his head. The play lost 26 yardsand Co-Lin’s Kentario Hardy recovered at the Ranger 49.

Six plays later, Johnson hit Hinton on a slant pattern which wasgood for 29 yards and the TD. Gunter converted and Co-Lin led20-zip.

Northwest avoided a first-half shutout when Gunter was tackledon a fake punt deep in his own territory. He was tackled atCo-Lin’s 14-yard line. After a pass interference penalty, Gloverscramble 2 yards for the TD and Billy Bishop kicked the PATreducing the deficit to 20-7 and 12 seconds left in the half.

Davis took credit for the fake punt call. “I screwed up on thatpunt fake. “As far as I’m concerned our defense got a shutout.

“Our defense bent but we never broke,” Davis continued.”Northwest had a hard time moving our defensive front. Oursecondary didn’t give up any big plays.”

Northwest managed 41 rushes for 139 yards. The Rangers completed5 of 12 passes for 55 yards.

Co-Lin led 26-7 on the 63-yard TD pass to Hinton as Johnsonquickly recovered from a bone-jarring, out-of-bounds tackle whichdrew a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Rangers.

Ranger backup quarterback Daniel Thomas fumbled at his 19-yardline and Tray Hardaway recovered for Co-Lin with 4:29 left to play.On first down, Johnson threw a TD strike to Carroll.

Co-Lin overcame 12 penalties for 100 yards. The Wolfpack didn’tturn the ball over.

“We have to get several things straightened out before we playItawamba (Thursday night),” said Davis. “I know we are going toface much stronger teams than Northwest this season.”