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Co-Lin gets another shot at stopping Itawamba’s Lee

WESSON — Defensive tackle Jesse Bowman and his Co-Lin teammateshave a major challenge awaiting them Saturday night. They mustcontain Itawamba Community College quarterback Tyson Lee.

Kickoff for the MACJC state playoff game is 7 p.m. in StoneStadium. Pearl River visits Northwest at Senatobia in the otherplayoff game. Saturday’s winners will meet Nov. 11 for the statechampionship.

Itawamba (7-2, 5-1), powered by Lee’s passing skills, beat theWolfpack 24-13 Sept. 7, at Wesson. The Columbus freshman (5-11,191) completed 17 of 22 passes for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns. Heovercame 5 sacks, totaling a minus-41 yards.

Bowman said the Wolfpack(7-2, 5-1) is looking forward to playingItawamba again. “That’s all we’ve been talking about is gettingsome revenge. We must contain their quarterback, keep him in thepocket.”

For the season, Lee paced the MACJC aerial statistics with 1,901passing yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s completed 158 of 222 passesand been intercepted 6 times.

“(Lee) has elevated his game a lot,” said Bowman. “We areimproving every game on defense. We have some players who love thegame of football.”

Bowman, a sophomore from Brookhaven, has 36 solo tackles and 25assists this season. Linebacker Blake Spiers leads Co-Lin with 39solo stops and 24 assists. Freshman safety Johnny Sanders has 38solo tackles. Linebackers Trey Hardaway and Michael Bibbs both have36 solo stops.

Co-Lin head coach Glenn Davis vividly remembers the Itawambagame. “We played a good first half and we didn’t play a good secondhalf. We had some errors in that game that we have corrected.”

Davis said Lee is a talented quarterback. “Lee has played wellall year. He has completed over 70 percent of his passes. He has agood group of receivers who can make good catches. He can scramblearound and make some plays off his throws.”

Regarding defense, Davis said a strong pass rush on Lee iscritical to his team’s success. “On defense, We have to make themone dimensional, as much as we can. We want to put pressure on themwith our front four. We must contest the passes in oursecondary.”

Co-Lin Offense In Gear

According to Davis, Co-Lin’s offense has shown steadyimprovement. “We have played steady on offense. We have been prettyhealthy, offensively. Our linemen have gotten better as the yearwent on. Our backs are running well. That has helped make us morebalanced.”

Directing the Co-Lin attack is sophomore quarterback CedricJohnson (5-10, 166) of Americus, Ga. In 9 regular-season games,Johnson has completed 111 of 208 passes for 1,269 yards and 13touchdowns. He’s been intercepted 5 times.

Johnson’s primary receiver is Anthony Chambliss (5-7, 175, so.)from Fayette. Chambliss has 28 catches for 376 yards and 1 TD.Other prime receivers are Bud Chatman of Brookhaven, Thomas Hintonof Prentiss and Damoyn Carroll of Hazlehurst.

Running back Aaron Johns (5-10, 190), a sophomore transfer fromAlabama, leads the Pack’s rushing attack. He has 132 rushes for 714yards and 6 touchdowns.

Determination is a key factor in Co-Lin’s progress in theoffensive line, according to left guard Zach Ray (6-3, 305, so.) ofBrookhaven. “We don’t stop fighting. We have a lot of new guys whohave helped us get better.”

Also in the offensive line are Phillip Freeman (6-5, 280, fr.)of Wesson at right tackle, Kyle Tutor (6-2, 283, so.) of Meadvilleat center, D’Angelo Johnson (6-1, 320, fr.) of Houston at rightguard and Edward Prince (6-4, 284, fr.) of Starkville at leftguard.

“Our offensive line has improved,” said Ray. “We’ve got somegood coaching, plus we have good running backs and a goodquarterback.”

Co-Lin sophomore punter/placekicker Nick Gunter of Wesson ishaving a good year. He has made 25 of 28 extra points and is7-for-7 on field goal attempts. He’s averaging 34.6 yards perpunt.

Wolf Tails: In the first meeting with Itawamba,Gunter kicked field goals of 33 and 39 yards. Johnson rushed for 46yards and a touchdown, plus completing 13 of 23 passes for 71yards.