NW Mississippi Rangers Find Playoffs

Clarksdale, Miss. -- The Northwest Mississippi Community College had two things to do Thursday, Nov. 1, when they traveled to Clarksdale to battle the Coahoma Tigers in the regular season finale.

In order to earn a spot in the MACJC state playoffs, the Rangers had to beat Coahoma, then root for Holmes to defeat Northeast. Mission accomplished. Northwest took care of its business by blasting Coahoma 61-0, while Holmes whipped Northeast 35-21 and allowed the Rangers to finish as runners-up for the MACJC north division championship. Northwest will travel to Ellisville Saturday, Nov. 10, and take on south division champion Jones County. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m., with live radio coverage provided by WQLJ FM 93.7. The winner will play either Mississippi Delta or East Central for the state championship Nov. 17.

"It doesn't matter how we got into the playoffs, we are just glad to have the chance to play for the state championship," said Ranger Head Coach Bobby Franklin. "That's a goal we set before every season. Some things haven't gone the way we wanted them to this year, but now we have an opportunity to win a championship."

Northwest had no troubles in its game with Coahomaunless you include the swarm of mosquitos that pestered the Rangers during their pre-game warmups. Northwest, which improved to 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the division, beat Coahoma for the 27th consecutive time and posted its 11th shutout in the series. The Tigers fell to 0-9 and 0-6.

It was only fitting that the Ranger defense should set the tone for the evening by accounting for the first points when end Travis Ware of Batesville registered a sack in the end zone. Northwest's defense stymied Coahoma all night by limiting the Tigers to eight yards of total offense, including one first down, and causing five turnovers.

The Rangers built a 33-0 halftime advantage thanks to a 13-yard pass from quarterback Bobby Robison of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to receiver Durell Robinson of Lyman, S.C., a career-long 51-yard field goal by placekicker Brent Smith of Byhalia in the first quarter.

Robison, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 219 yards, added two more touchdown throws in the second period. First, he hooked up with Tony Jackson of Senatobia on a 14-yard toss, then hit Jamaal Jackson of Tunica with a 21-yarder.

Backup quarterback Enrique Reese of College Park, Ga., relieved Robison at halftime and wasted little time finding the end zone. Reese used his scrambling abilities to slice through the Coahoma defense on an eight-yard touchdown run. The Ranger defense forced Coahoma on its next possession, which was blocked by Northwest's Lorenzo Henderson of Batesville. Henderson scooped up the ball and ran nine yards for a score.

The Rangers added two more touchdowns in the fourth period when backup tailback Quterria Tunstall of Olive Branch scored on a 16-yard run, and defensive end Colby Simmons of Lithia Springs, Ga., picked up a fumble and sprinted 24 yards.

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