Co-Lin football will go bowling after MACCC title game setback

Published 12:00 pm Friday, November 24, 2023

It only feels right that this 2023 version of Copiah-Lincoln CC football should get one more chance to show what they can do together on the field.

The Wolves (9-2) finished as the MACCC state runners-up on Saturday in Scooba after dropping a heart breaking 27-20 loss to the homestanding East Mississippi CC Lions.

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The Wolves led throughout much of the game and had EMCC facing a 3rd-and-long with 1:27 remaining in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 20-20.

EMCC quarterback Ty Keyes was able to buy time in the pocket and find an open man on a 79-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the game winner.

Co-Lin had beaten EMCC 23-20 in Wesson in the first game of the season for both teams.

On Monday, East Mississippi received one of the four playoff spots given out by the NJCAA. The Lions (9-2) will travel to play Hutchinson (KS) on Saturday, Dec. 2. The Hutchinson Blue Dragons are 10-0 and ranked no. 1 in the final NJCAA poll.

The other semifinal game will pit no. 2 Iowa Western (10-1) and no. 3 Kilgore (9-1) out of Texas in a game to be played on Sunday, Dec. 3 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The NJCAA championship game will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 13 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Co-Lin got the good news that its season isn’t over on Monday when it was picked to play in the annual Champs Heart of Texas Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 12 p.m. CST.

The Wolves will play Navarro College (6-4) on the campus of Texas A&M-Commerce. Commerce is located an hour northeast of Dallas and is about a six-and-a-half-hour drive from Wesson.

It’s a similar feeling to how things went for the first great team that longtime Co-Lin head coach Glenn Davis had in 2006. Davis had gone a combined 2-14 in his first two years in Wesson, but the program turned a corner in 2006 and finished 9-3 which included a 21-0 win over Georgia Military College in the Golden Isles Bowl.

Co-Lin also went 10-3 in 1985 with a bowl game win over Nassau CC 18-17 in the East Bowl for former coach Ray Ishee. A win in their bowl game against Navarro would tie this year’s team with the 1985 group for most wins in program history.

Getting more exposure for your players is a big part of the junior college experience and the more games you play, the more tape each guy has in his portfolio. This postseason run has been huge for players up and down the roster at Co-Lin as many have picked up more offers ahead of the beginning of their signing period on Dec. 21.

Brookhaven Academy alum Tyler Fortenberry is committed to the University of Southern Mississippi, but the sophomore tight end has picked up more offers of late including ones from New Mexico State, Akron, the University of Buffalo, Arkansas State and the University of Massachusetts among others.

As they have been all season long, Co-Lin was led in the loss to East Mississippi by another awesome outing from sophomore running back Johnnie Daniels. Daniels, a native of Crystal Springs, rushed the ball 22 times for 135 yards and caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

On the season, Daniels has rushed for 1,196 yards and 14 touchdowns. On the recruitment front, he’s picked up offers from Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion, Jackson State, Mississippi State and Arkansas State among others.

Sophomore Billy Pullen, who’s been nearly unstoppable all season as a 6-foot-2, 230-pound defensive lineman, currently has 15 offers and should only see that number climb over the next month.

Co-Lin will be the first team from the MACCC to play in the Heart of Texas bowl since 2016, when Northwest Mississippi lost 34-24 to Trinity Valley CC. Mississippi Gulf Coast won the 2007 Heart of Texas Bowl with a 62-28 blowout of Kilgore College.

The NJCAA sanctions three bowl games in addition to the four team playoffs.