No. 3 ranked Rangers defeat Southwest 27-20

The coaching staff at Northwest Mississippi Community College had a feeling quarterback Lewis Kuffuor was a special kind of athlete that could cause opposing defenses all sorts of problems with his arm and legs. Kuffuor proved them right and made the Southwest Bears dizzy by accounting for 279 yards of total offense to lead the No. 3 ranked Rangers to a 27-20 victory Sept. 9 at Summit.

Kuffuor, a sophomore from Atlanta, Ga., who transferred to Northwest from Tennessee Tech University, rushed for 156 yards on 14 attempts and threw for 123 yards to help the Rangers remain perfect at 2-0. Southwest fell to 0-2.

Mistakes are still hurting Northwest though.

The Rangers, who committed 12 penalties for 105 yards a week ago, were flagged 15 times for 150 yards against the Bears. Northwest had two long touchdown plays negated by penalties in the first half and turned the ball over three times in the contest.

"We are still not where we want to be," said Northwest Head Coach Bobby Franklin. "I thought we would be more disciplined this week and cut down on the mistakes, but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot."

Northwest got its offense on track by amassing 431 yards of total offense, with 308 of that coming on the ground. Kuffuor became the first Ranger quarterback since 1999 to run and throw for more than 100 yards in a contest.

Both defenses were solid in the first half which resulted in a 0-0 score at halftime.

Southwest got on the board first with 6:37 left in the third quarter thanks to a 27-yard field goal by Royce Fonte.

The Rangers responded on the ensuing possession by moving the ball 62 yards on eight plays and capped it with a 21-yard touchdown run by sophomore tailback Eldra Buckley of Charleston. Buckley, who totaled 131 yards on 17 carries, became just the 10th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a career.

Kuffuor went to work on Northwest's next possession and gave the Rangers a 13-3 lead when he faked a pitch on an option play and dashed 52 yards to the end zone.

Following a 31-yard field goal by Fonte at the start of the fourth quarter, Northwest's special teams contributed with a big play. Freshman DeVon Hicks of Trilby, Fla., blocked a punt that was scooped up by Ranger freshman Zach Britten of Abbeville at the four-yard line and taken into the end zone for a touchdown. Northwest failed on the two-point conversion which left the score at 19-7.

Southwest answered with a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Micah Brown to receiver Jessie Burton, but the Rangers countered with a six play, 64-yard drive and pushed their lead to 27-13 on an eight-yard scoring run by sophomore tailback Greg Horton of Vardaman. Northwest added a two-point conversion when Kuffuor found slotback Terrance Jackson of Senatobia wide open in the left corner of the end zone.

The resilient Bears would not give up. Southwest cut its deficit to 27-20 with 2:09 left in the game when Brown threw a screen pass for a touchdown to tailback Joe Tobias that covered eight yards and gave the Bears hope.

Southwest's chances were dashed on the ensuing onside kick that was recovered by Northwest's Mario Chapman of Batesville.

The Rangers were able to run the remaining two minutes off the clock to preserve the victory.

Northwest opens MACJC north division play Thursday, Sept. 16 by traveling to Moorhead to face the Mississippi Delta Trojans. The game is set to start at 7 p.m.


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