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Wolves make plays to get past Northeast

Copiah-Lincoln, No. 17, beat Northeast Mississippi 14-7 Thursday night in Wesson. A beauty pageant it wasn’t, but it’ll go down as a win for the Wolves and coach Glenn Davis.

Co-Lin led 2-0 at halftime. Northwest missed three field goals and Co-Lin dropped two punts for turnovers to go along with another turnover. The Wolves also committed 12 penalties for 105 yards which was nearly as many offensive yards as they gained (126).

The Co-Lin defense was dominate though as they held NE to 178 yards total offense. Still up 2-0 in the third, the Wolves got a defensive score when linebacker Tyrus Wheat stepped in front of a receiver for an interception that he returned 86-yards down the sideline.

A Mississippi State commit, Wheat added another interception in the fourth quarter. Wheat moved to linebacker from safety this season and the Amite High (Louisiana) graduate is a force in the middle of the defense for coordinator William Jones. At 6-foot-3, 245-pounds, he is an exceptional athlete that closes on the ball with power and speed.

Another athletic MSU commit on the C-L defense — sophomore end Jordan Davis — forced a turnover in the second half when he stripped the NE QB on a sack that was recovered by Jalen Bedell.

The length of the Co-Lin defensive is impressive.

Davis is 6-foot-5 while defensive back Tavarian McCullum is 6-foot-2 and linebacker Chris Rias is 6-foo-3. Defensive lineman Keyshawn Brinkley is 6-foot-5, defensive tackle Lawilliam Holmes is 6-foot-3 and end Jaxavier Hicks is 6-foot-5. The C-L linebackers and defensive line look like they’d be just as formidable on the basketball court as they are the football field.

Northeast did get something going offensively in the early fourth quarterback and quarterback Jack Mangel pulled the Tigers within 8-7 on an 8-yard TD pass to Carson Banks.

The Wolves responded with their best offensive play of the night, a 55-yard TD strike from quarterback Danny Clark to receiver Malik Heath. Heath used a double move to shake his defender and never checked up as he was alone behind the NE back-line.

“We actually called the same thing for the first play of the game, but we had a false start penalty before we could run it,” said Davis.

The Tigers were the opponent on the field, but the Co-Lin coaching and sports training staff had fought a battle all week to get the team well. Strep throat and the dreaded “stomach-virus” had different Wolves missing practice and getting fluids via a drip last week.

“We had guys on both sides of the line miss practice this week,” said Davis. “Jordan Davis was one of those guys, but he was able to come back full speed tonight. We’ve started spraying everything in the dorm with Lysol and trying to keep anybody else from getting sick.”

Co-Lin punter Bryce Lofton might have been the player of the game for the Wolves. He punted 12 times and had six downed inside the NE 20-yard line.

Davis and his staff knew NE would be limited in their passing game and would struggle to stop the defensive pressure Co-Lin can create. What Davis didn’t predict was how the C-L offense would have issues moving the ball themselves.

“They didn’t do anything that we didn’t prepare for,” said Davis. “We’ve got to find our five best offensive linemen and do a better job of communicating before we play Pearl River. The defense was outstanding tonight.”

The Wolves are on the road for the first time when they play Pearl River in Poplarville on Thursday. The Wildcats are 1-1 after beating Itawamba in their opener and losing at East Mississippi on Thursday night.