Northwest entered the contest having won 19 straight against division opponents and 20 of the last 21 against Northeast, but the Tigers jumped to an early 14-0 advantage which seemed to put the Rangers in a deep funk for the rest of the night. The loss dropped Northwest to 2-1 overall, while Northeast improved to 1-2.
"We told our kids all week that the longer we let Northeast stay in the game, the tougher it was going to be on us," said Ranger Head Coach Bobby Franklin. "They made plays when they needed them, and that was the biggest difference. We have to put this game behi nd us and move ahead. We still have a lot of football left to play."
On the game's first play from scrimmage, the Tigers were given plenty of momentum. Northwest tailback DaShaun Fields of Amory fumbled a handoff from quarterback Bobby Robison of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and put the Northeast offense at the Northwest 18-yard line. Five plays later, Tiger quarterback Ramon Burse scored from three yards out.
Seven minutes later, Burse found the end zone again when he scored on a one-yard plunge into the end zone which put Northeast ahead 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Northwest got its first points of the night at the start of the second period when placekicker Brent Smith of Byhalia booted a 33-yard field goal, then followed that up with a one-yard touchdown run by tailback Sherron Moore of Calhoun City, who ended the night with the best game of his career with 22 carries for 106 yards.
Just when the momentum was beginning to shift to the Rangers, Northeast added a touchdown just before halftime when quarterback Burse hit receiver Chris Kelley with a three-yard scoring toss with 15 seconds left to give the Tigers a 21-10 lead at intermission.
After a scoreless third quarter, Northwest cut into its deficit thanks to a one-yard run by tailback Quterria Tunstall of Olive Branch.
Northeast answered with a touchdown of its own when Burse and Kelley hooked up again on a seven-yard scoring pass.
Trailing 28-17 with 10 minutes left on the clock, the Rangers went to work. Using a no-huddle offense, Northwest scored on a six-play, 76-yard drive when quarterback Robision hit receiver Tony Jackson of Senatobia with an 18-yard touchdown pass.
On the Tigers' next possession, the Ranger defense forced a Tiger fumble which linebacker Jessie Miller of Tennille, Ga., recovered at the Northeast 13. Penalties hurt Northwest as it was flagged three times on that particular possession, but none of them hurt worse than the one that negated the go-ahead touchdown.
A scrambling Robison hit receiver Jamaal Jackson of Tunica with an apparent touchdown, but the officials ruled that Robison was across the line of scrimmage when he delivered the pass. The Rangers were forced to settle for the field goal which resulted in the one-point loss.
A Long Streak Comes to an End
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