NW Mississippi Downs NE Mississippi

Northwest Mississippi Community College strong safety Latarus Sykes (PHOTO) returns an interception 29 yards for a touchdown in a 31-14 victory against Northeast Sept. 21 in Booneville.

Curtis Steele doesn't wear an "S" on his chest.

But for one night, the Northwest Mississippi Community College tailback resembled Superman in leading the Rangers to a 31-14 victory against the Northeast Tigers Sept. 21 at Keenum Stadium in Booneville.

Steele rushed for a career-high 107 yards on 10 carries, including touchdown runs of 17 and four yards to help Northwest even its record at 2-2 and remain perfect in the MACJC north division at 2-0.

"We have six guys that can run the ball on any given night," said Northwest Head Coach Randy Pippin, who has won back-to-back games for the first time in his two seasons at the school. "Tonight was Curtis's turn. The offensive blocked well, and he was able to find some running room."

The Rangers, who rank second in the state in rushing offense averaging 215.3 yards per game, rushed for 150 or more yards for the fourth consecutive time this season. Northwest racked up 260 yards on the ground against Northeast.

The Ranger defense also rose to the occasion.

After surrendering 133 yards and 14 points to Northeast in the first half, Northwest buckled down in the second half to shutout the Tigers and hold them to just 97 yards of offense.

Defense was what the Rangers used to score the first points of the contest. On Northeast's second possession, Northwest strong safety Latarus Sykes intercepted a pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.

The Rangers' other score in the first half came when Steele dashed across the goal line from 17 yards out.

A couple of touchdown runs by Tiger tailback Cameron Montgomery tied the contest 14-14 at halftime.

The rest of the contest belonged to the Rangers. Northwest piled up 241 of its 375 total offensive yards in the second half.

The Rangers' flurry of 17 unanswered points began when place kicker Billy Bishop booted a career-long 46-yard field goal. Northwest also used an 11-yard touchdown run by tailback Eric Nicks and four-yard scoring run by Steele.

"We thought after last week's game that this team was starting to come together," added Pippin. "We've been looking to play a complete game and I thought we were pretty close to that tonight."

Northwest travels to Scooba Thursday, Sept. 28 to face East Mississippi. The MACJC north division contest kicks off at 6:30 p.m.


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