Northwest to host Coahoma for Homecoming
Photo: Xavier Davis rushed for 105 yards and earned his first multi-touchdown game in Thursday’s 31-13 victory at Mississippi Delta. (Courtesy nwccrangers.com)
Although the first half was less than ideal in some areas in the road matchup at Mississippi Delta, on Thursday, Oct 12, No. 15 Northwest Mississippi Community College powered through to keep the Trojans scoreless in the second half during the Rangers’ 31-13 victory.
Sophomore tailback Xavier Davis collected just his second career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 105 for the evening. His season-high rushing total was also matched with a two-touchdown effort, marking his first career game with multiple scores.
With the win, Northwest (4-2, 2-1 MACCC North) improved to 49-23-2 all-time against Mississippi Delta, while also capturing its 11th straight victory against the Trojans (1-5, 1-3 MACCC North). Additionally, the Rangers have now won 21 of the last 23 meetings against MDCC, dating back to 2002.
It didn’t take long for the Rangers to get on the scoreboard, as Northwest used five plays to go 71 yards on its opening drive. On the second play from scrimmage, Keegan Patterson connected with Kyler Hutton on a 35-yard reception that pushed the Rangers to the Trojans’ 30-yard line. Three plays later, Davis earned his first trip to the end zone on a 26-yard rush, followed by Jackson Uselton’s point-after kick, as Northwest took the quick 7-0 lead.
However, penalties plagued the Rangers’ defense on the Trojans’ opening possession, helping Mississippi Delta tie the game on a short touchdown pass from Troy Griffin to Emory James. The 11-play, 78-yard drive made it a 7-7 draw with 6:38 remaining in the first quarter.
It only took three plays for Northwest to regain the lead, as Patterson hooked up with Jevell Fugerson on a 48-yard touchdown reception. Following Uselton’s ensuing point-after kick, the Rangers moved back ahead, 14-7.
Mississippi Delta embarked on another strong possession over the final four and a half minutes of the first quarter. The biggest play for the Trojans was a 41-yard reception from Griffin to Sirr Trotter, which put MDCC in the red zone, only for the Northwest defense to keep the Trojans off the board after a missed field goal from Davon Klein.
An empty Northwest possession would give the Trojans a chance to redeem themselves early in the second quarter. Facing third and long near midfield, Griffin connected with Decamby Willis on a 49-yard pass, moving Mississippi Delta inside the Rangers’ five-yard line. A few plays later, the Trojans scored on a seven-yard pass from Griffin to Davion Alston, but the point-after kick failed, keeping Northwest ahead by a slim 14-13 margin.
Needing some breathing room, the Rangers began a nine-play, 78-yard drive midway through the second quarter that would end in Davis’ second touchdown of the evening. Patterson helped Northwest cross midfield with a 17-yard pass to Fugerson, which was aided by a facemask penalty by the Trojans. That was followed by a 22-yard keeper by Patterson that sent the Rangers on the edge of the red zone, setting up the short score from Davis.
Leading 21-13 late in the first half, both teams traded empty possessions to run out the second quarter, as Northwest went into the locker room with the one-touchdown lead.
Mississippi Delta opened the second half with the ball, but went three-and-out, punting the ball away to the Rangers. Northwest responded appropriately with a seven-play drive that went 49 yards, highlighted by a pair of 15 and 25-yard runs from Davis. Though the Rangers were unable to reach the end zone, Uselton did knock through his ninth field goal of the season from 22 yards out, helping Northwest move the lead to 24-13.
One empty-handed drive from each team resulted in Mississippi Delta getting the ball back on its own 15-yard line with 9:39 to go in the third quarter. One play later, Griffin was intercepted by Keshawn Davila, who returned it 25 yards the other way for the pick six score. The defensive score helped the Rangers gain the 31-13 advantage.
Northwest had two more chances to stretch the lead in the fourth quarter, but both Ranger possessions ended in missed field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Mississippi Delta’s first drive of the fourth quarter ended on a Kamp Shepherd interception, which was preceded by a crushing hit from Shepherd on the previous play. From there, the Trojans could get nothing working on offense, ending the game in favor of the Rangers.
Northwest outgained Mississippi Delta in total yards, 300-216, but the Rangers were outmatched 143-121 in passing yards. Davis accounted for 105 of the Rangers’ 179 rushing yards on the evening, while Fugerson and Hutton hauled in three catches each, combining for 110 receiving yards.
Mississippi Delta was led offensively by Griffin’s 11 completions on 28 attempts and Trotter’s six receptions for 73 yards.
Dyllon Bullard and JyKeon Cunningham led the way on defense for Northwest, combining for 21 total tackles. Bullard had 11 with a pass breakup, while Cunningham finished with 10 tackles and one tackle-for-loss.
Vamario McGee tallied a team-high eight tackles for the Trojans, followed by seven tackles from Johnathan Nicholson and a tackle-for-loss. Kennedy Baker also collected five tackles for Mississippi Delta, with all five recorded as tackles-for-loss.
Next up for Northwest is Homecoming on Thursday, October 19 against Coahoma. The Tigers (1-5, 0-3 MACCC North) are coming off a 56-0 loss to East Mississippi, their fourth straight loss of the season. The Rangers lead the all-time series with Coahoma, 45-2, and Northwest has also won each of its last eight Homecoming games, a streak that dates back to 2014.
Kickoff for next Thursday’s contest is scheduled for 7 P.M., with Homecoming festivities taking place at halftime. Tickets are still available for the game at nwccrangers.com/tickets.
Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Ranger TV, Action News 5 Plus, WHCQ-LD 8 and WEBU-LD 22.