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No. 4 Co-Lin Travels to No. 9 Jones Saturday

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Co-Lin running back Kelton Smith continues to provide the Wolfpack with a strong rushing attack.

DAILY LEADER / JONATHON ALFORD / Co-Lin running back Kelton Smith continues to provide the Wolfpack with a strong rushing attack.

WESSON – The stakes can get no higher for the Copiah-Lincoln football team as they travel to Jones County on Saturday for a big MACJC south division showdown. The Wolves and Bobcats are both 4-0 overall and 2-0 in their division. The Wolves are coming off of a gritty 19-10 victory last week against Hinds. The win was enough to bump Co-Lin up two spots, to No. 4, in the latest NJCAA National Top 20 Poll. Jones pulled this biggest upset of the season last week when they defeated No. 1 Gulf Coast, 52-42, on the Bulldog’s home field. Jones has moved up to No.9 in the NJCAA poll.

Co-Lin was led in the win over Hinds by freshman quarterback Daniel Fitzwater’s biggest game of the season. Fitzwater was 20-for-35 passing for 289 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Kelton Smith also had a career night rushing the ball. Smith carried the ball 25 times for 163 yards behind strong up-front blocking by the Co-Lin offensive line. Sophomore wide receiver Casey Gladney, a University of Cincinnati commit, had his biggest night of the season with 6 catches for 78 yards and one touchdown.

The Co-Lin defense was outstanding in harassing Hinds quarterback James Summers throughout the game. Wolves’ middle linebacker Jordan Harris, a Southern Miss commit, made 16 total tackles and recorded one sack. Harris, averaging 15 tackles a game, is the nation’s leader in that category. Sophomore defensive back Greg Sims of Brookhaven broke up four passes and caused a fumble.

Jones was led in their huge upset of No. 1 Gulf Coast by the play of redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Swindle. Swindle completed 22-of-36 passes for 400 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions against Gulf Coast. Swindle has thrown for 1,112 yards and 10 touchdowns in four games this season. Swindle’s favorite target against Gulf Coast was wide receiver JaMicheal Willis. Willis had nine receptions for 226 yards and two touchdowns.

The buildup for this game feels very similar to the tension surrounding the 2012 matchup between these two teams. Co-Lin won that game 33-29 in Wesson in an exciting back and forth ballgame. The Wolfpack victory was not assured until quarterback Chandler Rogers hit wide receiver Joe Craig, Jr. with a 15-yard touchdown pass with only 57 seconds remaining in the game. The 2011 matchup in Ellisville was also a last minute win for Co-Lin. Rogers threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Scott with 1:47 left in the game to give Co-Lin a 14-7 win.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Ellisville on Saturday. Listen live at www.colinathletics.com.