Desoto County Sports

Rangers finish 13th in final NJCAA rankings

Credit: Northwest CC Sports Information

After earning its 10th straight postseason appearance, Northwest has officially finished the 2023 season in the national rankings, the NJCAA announced on Monday, Dec. 18.

Northwest finished No. 13 in the final rankings, marking the eighth time in the last nine seasons that the Rangers have finished the season nationally ranked. (No MACCC teams were ranked in the NJCAA polls during the 2020 COVID-19 season, due to the conference being the only ones to play in the fall.)

Iowa Western earned the No. 1 spot as the NJCAA National Champions, while conference foe East Mississippi checked in at No. 2 with a 10-3 record. Hutchinson (Kan.), Copiah-Lincoln and Kilgore College rounded out the top five.

Elsewhere in the MACCC, Mississippi Gulf Coast finished eighth and Northeast finished unranked, but received votes.

Northwest sported a 7-3 record this season and a 5-1 mark in MACCC North Division play. The Rangers secured its MACCC playoff spot with a win against Northeast in the regular season finale.

Northwest has now finished in the final rankings in eight of the last nine seasons, dating back to 2015. The Rangers were No. 1 in the nation to conclude 2015, sixth in both the 2016 and 2019 seasons, seventh in 2017 and 2018, fourth in 2021 and third last season. Additionally, Northwest also finished the 2020 campaign at a perfect 6-0 and won the National Community College Football Championship, unaffiliated with the NJCAA.

Since Benjy Parker took over the head coaching reins in 2016, the Rangers have compiled a 65-19 overall record and a .774 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.

In that timeframe, Northwest has made the MACCC Playoffs every year and has played in the conference title game in six of the last eight seasons. The Rangers have also competed in the NJCAA Division I Playoffs, the National Community College Football Championship or an NJCAA bowl game in five of Parker’s eight seasons.

Parker’s staff has also sent a total of 148 players to the four-year level, with 120 of those signing with FBS or FCS programs at the Division I level. That number is expected to grow tremendously this season, with numerous Northwest sophomores offered or committed to programs such as Florida Atlantic, ULM, Liberty and more.

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