Co-Lin Wolves steamrolls No. 4 Itawamba
WESSON – Copiah-Lincoln head coach Glenn Davis believed that his team had the right mindset to put their first loss of the season behind them five days after tasting defeat and focus on the No. 4 Itawamba Indians in their non-division matchup. The No. 9 Wolfpack (5-1, 2-1) proved their coach was spot on with his assessment as they steamrolled the Indians (5-1, 3-0) 48-7 Thursday night in Wesson.
Copiah-Lincoln wide receiver Casey Gladney had his second straight spectacular game to set the tone for a Wolfpack offense that piled up the yards. Gladney wasted little time putting the hosts on the scoreboard when he hooked up with Co-Lin quarterback Daniel Fitzwater on a 73-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game. Gladney out jumped the Itawamba defender, who then fell to the ground, and sprinted untouched into the end zone. The point after by Blayne Jones was good and Co-Lin led 7-0 with 13:44 remaining in the first quarter.
Gladney, coming off of a week where he garnered player of the week honors on the state and national level, had a career best night catching the football. The sophomore from Columbia, S.C., caught 8 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown. He repeatedly went up over the Itawamba defensive backs and won balls in the air.
Freshman wide receiver Courtney Foy would be the next Wolf to get into the end zone when he was on the receiving end of a 31-yard touchdown pass from Fitzwater. Jones was good on the point after and Co-Lin led 14-0 with 6:52 left in the first quarter. Jones would finish the night 6-of-7 on point after kicks.
Fitzwater, a 6-foot-6 freshman from Shreveport, La., would hit eight different Co-Lin receivers and throw four touchdowns in going 28-of-40 for a career best 483 yards. The Co-Lin offense would finish the night with a whopping 645 yards of total offense. The offensive line play was impressive for a Co-Lin team that was facing an Itawamba squad known for their defense.
“I thought our offensive line did a great job of picking up blitzes all night and that allowed Daniel to makes a lot of good throws,” said Davis. “Our tight ends stayed in to give us extra blockers and Kelton Smith ran the ball well when we needed to keep the clock running.”
Smith ran the ball ten times for 59 yards and one score and also caught a 16-yard touchdown pass. Sophomore running back Van Lee rushed the ball 18 times for 46 yards and one touchdown.
Itawamba would get their lone score of the night when quarterback Griff Loftis hit Shante Rogers with an 8-yard touchdown pass. The Jeb Millender point after kick was good and with 14:54 left in the second quarter the Co-Lin lead had been cut to 14-7.
Co-Lin would lead 20-7 at half after Lee plowed into the end zone two minutes before the halftime horn. The route would be on early in the third quarter after a 7 play drive that covered 57 yards resulted in a 13-yard touchdown catch by freshman wide receiver Koy McFarland. The Co-Lin lead swelled to 27-7 after the successful point after attempt and the Wolfpack had taken complete control of the game.
The Co-Lin defense was relentless with their pressure on Loftis throughout the night. The sophomore from Mooreville had trouble finding open receivers with the blue jerseys of Co-Lin in his face and on his tail throughout the contest. Loftis was 13-of-43 for 147 yards and three interceptions.
Wolfpack safety BeJay Welch picked off Loftis in the third quarter and returned the ball 74 yards for a touchdown. Edward Muldrow and Ryan Duckworth also picked off Loftis for Co-Lin.
For the night the Itawamba offense tallied 197 yards of total offense. Co-Lin linebackers Muldrow, Carroll Phillips, and Jordan Harris and the entire Wolfpack defensive unit were unyielding in their pursuit of Loftis and the Indian ball carriers all night.
Co-Lin returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 12, when they host South Division foe Pearl River for homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Stone Stadium.