Desoto County Sports

Northwest releases 2023 football schedule

Rangers to host Coahoma for Homecoming on Oct. 19

Credit: Northwest CC Sports Information

Summer is just around the corner, but anticipation for football season is already building.

Friday morning, May 19, Northwest Mississippi Community College released its schedule for the 2023 football season, which features five home games set for 7 p.m. start times. For the first time in decades, the start of the season will begin after Labor Day weekend and will push into the first week of November. As a result, the MACCC semifinals and conference championships will now be held Nov. 12 and Nov. 18, respectively.

Northwest will open the season with the longest of its four road trips, a Sept. 7 affair at Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Rangers are 22-20-2 all-time against the Bulldogs and have won three straight contests, including a 28-24 victory in last season’s home opener.

From there, the Rangers will have back-to-back home games at Bobby Franklin Field, beginning with Hinds on Thursday, Sept. 14. Northwest leads the all-time series against the Eagles, 31-18-3, which includes last season’s 31-28 nail-biter in Raymond.

Northwest welcomes Pearl River to Bobby Franklin Field on Thursday, Sept. 21, marking the first trip to Senatobia for the Wildcats since the 2016 season. The Rangers faced PRCC last season for the first time since 2017, earning a gritty 21-14 victory in Poplarville, stretching the winning streak to five games against the Wildcats.

Northwest closes out the month of September with a road trip to Itawamba, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28. It will be the Rangers’ first trip to Eaton Field in Fulton since 2018, as Northwest has hosted the Indians each of the last four seasons. Last season, the Rangers picked up a 49-10 win against ICC, moving the all-time series lead to 43-26-1.

In what’s usually the biggest game of the regular season every year, the Rangers and East Mississippi will square off at Bobby Franklin Field on Thursday, Oct. 5. Both teams met twice last season, with Northwest earning a 38-21 win during the regular season and the Lions taking the MACCC Championship with a 36-28 victory.

Both the Rangers and Lions have been nationally-ranked in each of the last 10 meetings, while at least one team has been ranked in each of the last 16 contests, dating back to the 2009 season. Northwest leads the all-time series by a 43-26-1 margin and the series has been split 4-4 since the 2019 campaign.

From there, Northwest will travel to Mississippi Delta on Thursday, Oct. 12. The Rangers are riding a 10-game winning streak against the Trojans and lead the all-time series 48-23-2. Since 2006, Northwest is 17-1 against MDCC with the only loss coming by a narrow 34-27 margin during the 2013 season.

Coahoma is slated to be the Rangers’ Homecoming opponent, a game scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 19. Northwest is 45-2 all-time against the Tigers and winners of 12 straight contests against CCC.

Northwest’s road finale will come on Oct. 26 in Goodman, as Holmes will host the Rangers for its homecoming. While all other regular season games are slated for 7 p.m. kickoff times, the battle between Northwest and the Bulldogs will be a 3 p.m. afternoon start time from Ras Branch Stadium. The Rangers are 47-20-2 all-time against Holmes, including last season’s 41-14 triumph.

Northwest will close out the regular season at home, hosting Northeast on Thursday, Nov. 2. The Rangers took a 28-2 win in Booneville last season, stretching the all-time series lead to 43-18-2.

Last season, the Rangers finished with a 10-2 overall record and advanced into the NJCAA Division I Playoffs for the second time in as many seasons. Northwest also recorded its eighth straight winning season and made its ninth straight appearance in the MACCC Playoffs, finishing third in the final NJCAA polls.

Head coach Benjy Parker enters his eighth season commanding the program, sporting a career record of 58-16, with a .784 winning percentage. Parker has further cemented his spot as the Rangers’ second winningest coach, trailing only Bobby Franklin’s 201 victories that were collected over a span from 1981-2004.

All games will be carried on Ranger TV, with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes before each contest. A season roster will be published closer to the start of the season.

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