Northwest beats Co-Lin in season opener

Published 10:51 pm Friday, September 3, 2021

The No. 3 ranked Northwest Rangers finished 6-0 in a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season as they beat Mississippi Gulf Coast in the MACCC state title game last year.

Thursday in Senatobia the Rangers kept their winning streak alive with a 31-12 win over the visiting Copiah-Lincoln Wolves.

Quarterback Michael Hiers returned to NWCC after leading the team to a perfect mark last season. A Murray State transfer by way of Birmingham who is his fourth year of college, Hiers finished 16-of-27 for 306 yards and two scores Thursday night.

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You can’t tell the story of the game without mentioning the adversity faced by Co-Lin this week due to Hurricane Ida. The lights went out in Wesson in the early am hours of Monday and didn’t return until Tuesday evening.

Co-Lin asked that the game be moved to Saturday to accommodate preparation time lost this week by the Wolves, but Northwest inhospitably chose to keep it on Thursday.

Head coach Glenn Davis sent his team home ahead of the weather as to not have players in the dorms during the worst of Ida.

The team returned to campus Tuesday morning and practiced that afternoon and Wednesday before playing on Thursday.

The game was close early as a 13-yard TD run by Bobby Shanklin got Co-Lin on the board with 7:11 remaining until halftime. The PAT was missed, and Northwest led 7-6. Northwest tacked on a score later in the period to lead 14-6 at the halftime break.

Trailing 21-6 in the third quarter, Co-Lin drove into Northwest territory before turning the ball over on downs.

Co-Lin had a punt return deep into NWCC territory called back by a personal foul in the second quarter. Davis said his team had some drops and other penalties that didn’t help their offensive production either.

“We can play better than we did,” said Davis. “I think the players know that too. Northwest is a very good ball club, but the game was closer than the final score and we’ve got a lot of stuff that we need to get cleaned up.”

The final CLCC score of the night came when sophomore quarterback Paul Hargrave (Natchez) hit freshman tight end Harold Rhodes III (Jefferson Davis County) for a TD pass with seven minutes remaining in the game — the PAT kick was blocked.

Northwest outgained Co-Lin 436-153 in total combined yards. The Wolves passed for 65 yards and ran for 88 while going 2-of-13 on third down conversion attempts.

In other MACCC action played Thursday night, Coahoma beat Hinds 21-14, Mississippi Delta raced past Pearl River by a 31-6 final, Jones College blew out Northeast 41-17, Mississippi Gulf Coast beat Holmes 56-14 and after opting out and not playing football last season — East Mississippi returned to the field with a 32-7 win over East Central.

Southwest will host Itawamba Saturday at 3 p.m. in Summit.