No. 6 Co-Lin host No. 11 Hinds in Thursday showdown

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WESSON – The stakes will be high in Wesson on Thursday night as Copiah-Lincoln (3-0, 1-0) clashes with Hinds Community College (2-1, 0-1) in MACJC football action. Co-Lin, ranked No. 6 in this week’s NJCAA Top 20 Poll, is coming off of a 23-0 road victory over East Central. Hinds, ranked No. 11 by the NJCAA, lost 41-34 last week to No. 1 ranked Gulf Coast.

This game has served as a benchmark for each program in the last several years as they battle for position in the ultra-competitive South Division of the MACJC. Co-Lin is 1-0 in the south after their victory over East Central and Hinds is 0-1 after their loss to Gulf Coast.

Last season, the Wolves upset the Eagles in Raymond in a game that Hinds came into ranked No. 16 in the Nation. The Wolfpack got a standout defensive effort in that contest, including an interception returned for a touchdown, to defeat Hinds 21-6. In 2011, the Eagles came into Wesson and blitzed a young Co-Lin team that would eventually finish the season with a 5-4 record. In that game Hinds sped out to an early lead and eventually won 33-0. A 26-12 Co-Lin win in 2008 was the last time the home team was victorious in the series.

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Co-Lin was lead in last week’s win over East Central by sophomore running back Kelton Smith. Smith, who prepped at Copiah Academy, missed the 2012 season after suffering a knee injury at the end of training camp. Smith rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start. Freshman quarterback Daniel Fitzwater was 12 for 22 for 165 yards.

Sophomore linebacker Jordan Harris continued his outstanding season versus East Central. Harris finished with 16 total tackles from his middle linebacker position. Harris is the leading tackler in the nation after averaging just over 15 tackles per game through three contests. Harris, a graduate of Clarksdale High School, has made a verbal commitment to Southern Miss.

Hinds is coached by longtime leader Gene Murphy. Murphy is in his fifth season leading the Eagles after coming out of retirement. Murphy has previously been head coach from 1987-2003. The Hinds staff includes former Co-Lin assistants Larry Williams and Clarence McDougal.

Kickoff in Wesson is 7 p.m. on Thursday.