NJCAA #1 Falls - Hinds over NW Mississippi

Bad news may get even worse for the 2002 edition of the Northwest Mississippi Community College Ranger football team. The Rangers, ranked pre-season No. 2 in the nation by the NJCAA, fell to No. 18 Hinds 28-24 in the season-opener for both squads Sept. 5 at Raymond.

The loss may not be the biggest problem facing the Rangers. Northwest sophomore quarterback Bobby Robison of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., a pre-season first team All-American, left the game late in the third quarter with a dislocated shoulder. While he was in the game, Robison passed for 221 yards, including touchdown tosses of 14 and 30 yards to freshman receiver John Harris of Americus, Ga.

"It's too early too tell how serious Robison's injury is, " said

Northwest Head Coach Bobby Franklin. "He's a tough kid and he will try to be back next week, but we'll have to wait and see. We are disappointed that we lost the game, but we have a long season ahead of us, and it would be nice to have all of our weapons on the field."

Not only was Robison missed as a quarterback, but also as a punter. With Northwest clinging to a 24-21 lead with 12:43 left in the contest, Ranger freshman defensive end Lonnie Davis of Jacksonville, Fla., was forced into action as Robison's replacement at punter. Davis had trouble fielding the snap from center and was tackled at his own 23-yard line. Six plays later, Hinds scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run by Mason Denham with 10:22 remaining in the game.

"That proved to be the difference in the ball game," added Franklin. "We made a lot of mistakes tonight and you can't do that and expect to win."

Robison's two touchdown passes to Harris gave the Rangers a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, but Hinds roared back to tie the contest at 14-14 with two touchdowns of its own in a 21-second span. Harris enjoyed a nice debut by catching seven passes for 109 yards.

First, the Eagles put together a 92-yard, 13-play drive and capped it with a two-yard run by tailback Mason Denham. During the possession, the Northwest defense was flagged four times for jumping into the neutral zone.

Hinds recovered a Ranger fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and one play later, quarterback Terrance Matthews hit receiver Von Mixon with a 27-yard strike. Northwest took a 17-14 lead into the locker room at halftime thanks to a 40-yard field goal with 25 seconds left in the half by freshman placekicker Shawn Dascalu of Walls.

Hinds gained the upper hand 21-17 with 9:52 left in the third quarter on a one-yard run by Matthews, but the Rangers responded with a one-yard run by tailback Quterria Tunstall to claim the lead 24-21.

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