The thunderstorms that moved through Senatobia a few hours before the season-opening contest between Northwest Mississippi Community College and Copiah-Lincoln didn’t cause any power outages in the surrounding area.
But the No. 20 Northwest Rangers did manage to knock No. 24 Copiah-Lincoln’s lights out by blasting the Wolves 31-0 Aug. 30 at Bobby Franklin Field.
Northwest, the defending MACJC north division champion, won its season-opener for the time since 2004. The Rangers also avenged last season’s 33-7 loss to Copiah-Lincoln in Wesson by capitalizing on five turnovers.
“We felt good about the way our freshmen played and great about the core group of key returnees,” said Northwest Head Coach Randy Pippin. “Our sophomores are really demonstrating some leadership qualities that will nurture more success down the road. We have a lot of work to do fundamentally. We are not nearly where we need to be blocking and tackling, but we won, and that feels good.”
Tailback Daniel Thomas of Hilliard, Fla., is one sophomore that Pippin is glad to have on his side.
Thomas, who played quarterback last season for Northwest, burned Copiah-Lincoln by rushing for two touchdowns and throwing another. Thomas led the Rangers with 66 rushing yards and also completed both of his pass attempts for 79 yards.
Northwest led 7-0 at halftime thanks to a nine-yard touchdown run by Thomas in the first quarter.
The Rangers exploded for 21 points in the third quarter with all three touchdowns coming in a four-minute span. Two of those scores were the result of Copiah-Lincoln turnovers.
Thomas threw a 27-yard halfback pass to sophomore receiver Oscar Dudley of Coffeeville for a touchdown. Two minutes later, sophomore quarterback Brandon Myles of Pulaski, Tenn., hooked up with Dudley on a 21-yard scoring pass.
Thomas closed out the third quarter with a three-yard touchdown run.
Northwest place kicker Johnathan Neilson of Oxford booted a 37-yard field goal in the fourth period.
The Ranger defense also turned in a fine performance. Northwest limited Copiah-Lincoln to just 159 total yards and registered eight quarterback sacks.
Cody Hallmark of Batesville, Brandon Davis of Byhalia, and Thomas Majors of Nashville, Tenn., had interceptions for the Rangers. Northwest defensive tackle Dale Woods of Hernando recovered two fumbles.
The Rangers will travel to Ellisville Saturday, Sept. 8 to face Jones County at 7 p.m.