Co-Lin slugs Southwest in fourth quarter

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 15, 2006

SUMMIT — Call it a defining moment for the Co-Lin football teamThursday night on Monroe/McElveen Field. When quarterback CedricJohnson received a late hit from Southwest linebacker DewaynePittman on a play out of bounds, the Wolfpack came alive as bothbenches emptied.

Inspired by an enthusiastic crowd of followers, the Packresponded with two quick fourth quarter touchdowns, leading them toa 30-13 triumph over the Southwest Bears in Hurst Stadium. Johnsonpassed for 1 touchdown and ran for another in the final frame asthe Pack defeated their bitter rivals for the first time in fouryears.

“They (Bears) were frustrated and they took a cheap shot at me,”explained Johnson as he walked to the team bus after the game. “Weplayed a lot better than last week,” referring to a home field lossto Itawamba.

Johnson, a sophomore from Americus, Ga., tossed a pair of firstquarter touchdown passes. He hooked up with wide receiver TrayHardaway on a 46-yard TD and with fullback Matt Delaughter on aoption pass good for 2 yards and a score.

Sophomore offensive guard Zach Ray of Brookhaven celebrated withhis teammates after the game. “That late hit on Cedric fired us up.It got our motor running. It felt good to shove it down theirthroat.”

After the melee at midfield, Southwest was assessed a 15-yardpersonal foul penalty. On first down wide receiver Thomas Hintontook a handoff from Johnson on an end-around play and threw astrike to wide receiver Anthony Chambliss which was good for 46yards to the Southwest 4.

An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Bears moved thefootball 2-yards closer to the goal line. Johnson rolled out to hisleft and lofted the TD pass to tight end DeAndre’ Davis.

On Co-Lin’s next possession, Chambliss returned Joseph DePaula’spunt 40 yards to the Southwest 5. Johnson ran an option around hisleft side and dove across the goal line, giving Co-Lin a 30-13 leadwith 10:07 left in the game.

Head coach Glenn Davis said he was happy to end Southwest’s3-year domination of Co-Lin. “It was a great win for our program.Our kids battled hard.”

Davis said the sideline mayhem aroused his team. “When somethinglike that happens in practice or in a game, our guys start playingin a higher gear.

“Southwest had been better than us the past two years and theyput it on us,” Davis noted. “Our coaches kept working hard andrecruiting to help us get better players on our team.”

It was Co-Lin’s first South Division win since the 2003 season.It gave the Pack (2-1, 1-0) some momentum going into nextThursday’s home date against No. 1-ranked Pearl River CommunityCollege.

Punter/place-kicker Nick Gunter gave Co-Lin an early 3-0 leadwith a 42-yard field goal, his longest of the season. His fake puntlater in the first quarter gained a first down at the Southwest 23and set up Co-Lin’s second TD, pushing the Pack ahead 17-7 with 5seconds left.

Southwest sophomore quarterback Fred Jones scrambled and passedthe Bears into contention at halftime. He passed 22 yards to widereceiver Edgar Givens for a first-quarter touchdown and scored on a1-yard sneak, pulling the Bears within 17-13 with 39 seconds leftin the first half.

Co-Lin’s defense turned up the heat in the second half and keptthe Bears out of the end zone. Jones was tackled for a 7-yard losson a sack by defensive end Raven Gray on fourth down at Co-Lin’s15, on the last play of the third quarter.

Co-Lin sophomore linebacker Blake Spiers said it was a teameffort. “I’m proud of our defense and our offense. Our defenseplayed good and got some turnovers.”

Safety Jasper O’Quinn intercepted Jones in the second quarter.Jones was sacked by defensive tackle Jessie Bowman and Spiers fellon a Jones fumble in the first quarter.

Asked about the sideline brawl, Spiers said, “Coach Davis toldme to keep everybody calm. Our defense settled down and playedhard.”

Southwest coach Charles Anthony said Co-Lin responded correctlyafter the incident. “It’s a credit to Co-Lin to pick it up andrespond to that situation. Co-Lin wanted it more than we did and wewere very undisciplined.”

The Bears (1-2, 0-1) are at East Central at Decatur Thursdaynight for a South Division game.

“When Co-Lin ran that reverse pass, it took some air out of us,”said Anthony. “Up to that point, it was a pretty good battle.”