NW Mississippi Falls to Co-Lin

Things didn't exactly go as planned for the No. 20 Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers in their season-opener Sept. 22 in Senatobia. The Copiah-Lincoln Wolves spoiled Northwest Head Coach Randy Pippin's debut by leaving town with a 16-6 victory at Ranger Stadium/ Bobby Franklin Field.

The Wolves also ruined a superb performance by Northwest sophomore tailback Terrance Jackson. Jackson, of Senatobia, racked up 255 all-purpose yards.

The Rangers hurt themselves with three costly fumbles deep in Copiah-Lincoln territory, including one inside the five-yard line. Jackson committed two of those fumbles.

Northwest also struggled with penalties. The Rangers were flagged 11 times for 95 yards.

"Football is a pretty simple game until you start making mistakes like we did tonight," said Pippin. "Our defense was on the field too much, but I was proud of the way they hung in there and kept battling."

More bad news came for Northwest in the second quarter when sophomore starting quarterback Will Sneed of Starkville injured his shoulder and was forced to miss the rest of the contest.

Freshman quarterback Larry Henderson of Hernando did pretty well in relief of Sneed by completing eight of 14 passes for 129 yards. Henderson also tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Robert Moore of Charleston with 4:30 remaining in the game. Northwest failed on the two-point conversion.

Copiah-Lincoln claimed a 3-0 lead at halftime on a 26-yard field goal by Chris Blackwell in the first quarter.

The Wolves built their advantage to 16-0 after three periods behind field goals of 41 and 19 yards from Blackwell. Copiah-Lincoln also added a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cedric Johnson to Maurice Taylor.

Two of those scores were set up by Northwest turnovers.

Jackson, who rushed for 99 yards all of last season, finished the contest with 145 rushing yards on 16 carries. Jackson also caught three passes for 29 yards and returned four kickoffs for 81 yards.

"Terrance is a special kid when he has the ball and has loads of talent," said Pippin. "He just has to make an adjustment and do a better job of holding onto the football."

The Ranger defense held up despite being on the field for the Wolves' 73 offensive plays. Northwest allowed just 135 yards through the air and picked off two passes. Sophomore cornerback Zach Britten of Abbeville and sophomore linebacker Kyle Pupello of Tampa, Fla., both thwarted Copiah-Lincoln drives with interceptions.

Northwest will open MACJC north division play Thursday, Sept. 29 by traveling to Goodman to face the Holmes Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Photo: Northwest Mississippi Community College cornerback Zach Britten gets tackled by a player from Copiah-Lincoln after making an interception in the Rangers' season-opener Sept. 22 in Senatobia. Northwest lost the contest 16-6.

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