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Wolfpack defense hammers Northwest

SENATOBIA – An attacking and opportunistic defense set the tone for a 48-24 Copiah-Lincoln (2-0) road victory over Northwest (0-2) on Thursday night. The Co-Lin defenders scored touchdowns on an interception return and a fumble recovery. The Wolfpack defense recovered three fumbles, picked off four passes and held Northwest to zero net yards rushing.

An interception by freshman defensive lineman Jonathan Calvin with 1:03 left in the first quarter would set up the first Co-Lin score of the night. Calvin picked off Rangers starting quarterback Karsten Turner and returned the ball 27 yards before being tripped up at the Northwest 4-yard line. Turner was injured on the play and was carried off the field on a stretcher. Sophomore running back Kelton Smith scored on a 4-yard run on the play after the interception and Co-Lin led 7-0.

A mere 49 seconds would run off the clock before the Co-Lin defense would come through with another big play. Freshman linebacker Carroll Phillips picked off the new Northwest quarterback, Kyle Morgan, and returned it 29 yards for the touchdown. Freshman kicker Blayne Jones knocked through the point after and Co-Lin would lead 14-0 after one quarter. Jones would finish 6-7 on PAT attempts in the game.

The Co-Lin lead would eventually swell to 48-0 in the third quarter before a Northwest rally that saw turnovers and sloppy mistakes by the Wolfpack.

Co-Lin head coach Glenn Davis was impressed with the way his team started the ballgame. “It’s always great to win on the road in this league,” said Davis. “We’ve also got to learn how to finish a game. I thought we got some good work out of our three running backs tonight.”

On the ground, Smith, a Copiah Academy product, would finish with two touchdowns and 42 yards on nine carries. Sophomore Van Lee gained 67 yards on 13 rushes and freshman DeLance Turner carried the ball nine times for 31 yards and one touchdown.

Freshman quarterback Daniel Fitzwater had another solid outing leading the Wolfpack offense. Fitzwater finished 13-22 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Fitzwater’s top target was freshman wide receiver Koy McFarland, who finished with three catches for 75 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. Fitzwater also threw a 29-yard TD pass to tight end Tyson McDonald in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was the lone bright spot for Northwest as the Rangers were able to capitalize on two Co-Lin turnovers and put a total of 24 unanswered points on the Bobby Franklin Field scoreboard.

Sophomore middle linebacker Jordan Harris led the Co-Lin defense with 11 tackles. Sophomore defensive backs Kalen Jackson and Greg Sims both recorded an interception. Freshman BeJay Welch recovered a Ranger fumble in their endzone to cap the scoring for Co-Lin late in the third quarter.

The Wolfpack begin MACJC south division play next Thursday, Sept. 12, when they travel to Decatur to take on East Central for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.