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Co-Lin rallies to knock out Northwest

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Co-Lin's DeLance Turner (7) uses his speed to break away from Northwest for a touchdown at Stone Stadium.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Co-Lin’s DeLance Turner (7) uses his speed to break away from Northwest for a touchdown at Stone Stadium.

WESSON -Co-Lin’s offensive 21-point outburst in the fourth quarter propels the Wolves to a 44-30 victory over the Northwest Rangers in the opening round of the JUCO playoffs Saturday afternoon in Stone Stadium.

“We did not play at our best, but our guys did a great job fighting through the adversity to get the win,” said CL coach Glenn Davis. “Overall, it was a great team effort from our guys and coaches. Glad to get the win but now must regroup and get ready for next week.”

With the win, the No.11-ranked Wolves (8-2, 5-1) advance to host the JUCO state championship against the defending state and national champion, East Mississippi Lions, next Saturday, Nov. 8, in Wesson. Game time has not been set.

The Lions defeated the Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs 42-21 in Saturday opening round contest. East Mississippi won the regular season match up against Co-Lin, 46-10, in Scooba on Sept. 4.

In the opening quarter of action, the Wolves and Rangers provided an exciting offensive show as Co-Lin started the action with a 65-yard punt return by Donald Gray with 13:07 remaining. Greg Nickels was successful on the extra-point kick as he finished five-of-five on the evening.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Co-Lin's Joshua Bates (33) gets away from the Northwest defender in Saturday JUCO action.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Co-Lin’s Joshua Bates (33) gets away from the Northwest defender in Saturday JUCO action.

Northwest charged back on their next possession and answered the Wolves challenge with 11:17 left as Jamarius Mabry caught a 24-yard pass from Kyle Morgan. Jim Speights kicked the extra points to tied the contest at 7-all. Speights finished three-of-four on the PAT attempts.

After a series of defensive battles in the first quarter, the Wolves offense managed to work down the field to set the field goal opportunity. Nickels was successful on a 23-yard try with 6:61 left.

The Rangers would rally back as time expired in the first quarter to secure their first lead of the contest on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Morgan to Mabry.

In the second quarter, Co-Lin fought hard to keep the game close as they relied on the strong leg of Nickels to nail a 22-yard field goal with 12:11 remaining to cut down Northwest’s lead to 14-13.

With 4:56 left in the first half, the Rangers would increase their lead again on Tevin Johnson’s 1-yard run to secure a 20-14 advantage.

Co-Lin battled back with 59 seconds remaining to trim down the Rangers’ lead once again as Nickels continued his hot kick streak. He nailed a 46-yard field goal. Northwest led at the half 20-16 over Co-Lin.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Co-Lin's quarterback Daniel Fitzwater powers the Wolves' fourth quarter comeback to defeat the Northwest Rangers 44-30 Saturday afternoon in the JUCO football action in Wesson.

CO-LIN MEDIA / NATALIE DAVIS / Co-Lin’s quarterback Daniel Fitzwater powers the Wolves’ fourth quarter comeback to defeat the Northwest Rangers 44-30 Saturday afternoon in the JUCO football action in Wesson.

In the second half of action, the Wolves came out and quickly reclaimed the lead on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Fitzwater to Germie Martin with 12:29 left in the third quarter.

Northwest would bounced back to regain lead after two scoring drives. The Rangers tied the game at 23-all on a 34-yard field goal with 6:38 remaining. Later they took a 30-23 lead with 1:26 left in the third on a 4-yard run by Justin Crawford.

In the final quarter of action, the Wolves would turn up the heat on the Rangers offensively and defensively as Co-Lin scored 21-unswered points to take over the lead for good.

Courtney Foy started the charge after catching a 25-yard pass from Fitzwater with 14:11 remaining to tie the contest at 30-all.

Lakedric Lee put the Wolves on top with a 12-yard run to give Co-Lin a 37-30 advantage with 8:36 remaining. The Wolves added another touchdown with 6:38 for insurance as De’Lance Turner caught a 71-yard pass from Fitzwater.

Offensively, Fitzwater powered the Wolves, completing 23-of-44 passes for 352 yards. Turner led all receivers with two catches for 107 yards. Foy had seven receptions for 82 yards.

Joshua Bates led the ground attack for Co-Lin with 11 rushes for 55 yards. Turner provided four rushes for 41 yards.

Defensively, Arthur Maulet, Zachary Williams and Teron Fitzgerald paced the Wolves with eight tackles apiece. Dycelious Reese contributed seven stops. Jonathan Taylor had six tackles and two sacks for a loss.