No. 11 Co-Lin hosting Northwest in MACJC Semifinals on Saturday
WESSON – The No. 11 Copiah-Lincoln Wolfpack will host their first MACJC Playoff game since 2010 when they entertain the Northwest Rangers on Saturday in Stone Stadium.
Co-Lin (7-2, 5-1) is in the playoffs thanks to a five game winning streak that allowed them to overcome a 0-1 division record and take the MACJC South Division title. The Co-Lin offense is a top 20 team in nearly every statistical category including scoring (19), points per game (20), total offense (10), yards per game (15), and passing yards (12).
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Fitzwater is 178-of-276 for 2,491 yards, 18 touchdowns, and four interceptions through nine games. Redshirt freshman and Mississippi State commit Donald Gray has been his favorite target in 2014. Gray, a native of Memphis, has caught 50 passes for 931 yards and 10 touchdowns. Sophomores Courtney Foy and Koy McFarland are tied for second on the team with 31 catches apiece. The running game has been a by-committee affair for Co-Lin this season as De’Lance Turner, Diquan Davis, Joshua Bates, and Lakedric Lee have combined to rush for 1,405 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Co-Lin defense will be tasked with stopping the state and national player of the week on Saturday when they face Northwest running back Justin Crawford. Crawford, a freshman from Columbus, Georgia, rushed for 338 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries in a 34-29 win over Coahoma last week. Crawford has carried the ball 195 times for 1,375 yards and 13 touchdowns so far this season.
The Co-Lin defense, led by coordinator Otis Yelverton, has been strong against the run all season long. Co-Lin has only given up over 100 yards rushing by a running back in a game once this season. Northwest has been without the services of their starting quarterback, Karsten Miller, as he deals with a finger injury. His backup, Kyle Morgan, only attempted 10 passes against Coahoma.
Freshman linebacker Zachary Williams has been a tackling machine this season for Co-Lin, posting 70 tackles through nine games. Defensive back Arthur Maulet has made five interceptions and broken up twenty passes this season. The key to stopping Crawford on Saturday will be the defensive line, where a rotation of Johnathan Calvin, Demond Tucker, Deion Pope, Jonathan Taylor, Darrell Vanerson, Tre’ Brown, and Ryan Duckworth has been outstanding this season for Co-Lin.
Northwest (4-5, 4-2) began the season with a home loss, 28-20, to Jones. The Rangers next went on the road and lost 63-7 at Gulf Coast. Their third game was a loss, 25-19 in overtime to Northeast, in a game they initially led 19-0. Their first win of the season, 45-31 over Itawamba, was the first career win for first year head coach Jack Wright. The Rangers dropped their final non-conference game, 31-17, to Hinds. The next games, a 28-14 win over Holmes and a 23-14 win over Delta, would be what the Rangers needed to make their playoff push. They dropped a 49-0 home loss to No. 1 East Mississippi before clinching their playoff spot with the win over Coahoma.
Co-Lin clinched the division title with a 40-28 home win over Jones last week. The game got off to a fast start as the teams combined for 21 points in the first 3:12 of action. Co-Lin led 27-14 at halftime and posted 601 yards of total offense for the game.
Kickoff in Stone Stadium is 3 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults. Co-Lin students get in free with their student ID. The game can be heard on 104.3 in Brookhaven and will be video streamed live at colinathletics.com