NWCC Rangers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rangers take care of Holmes in 3OTs; hosts rival Northeast Thursday

By Brett Brown

NWCC Sports Information

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If the Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers were cats, they would have needed every one of their nine lives to survive their triple overtime victory against the Holmes Bulldogs Sept. 13 in Goodman.

Northwest, which almost gave the game away on several occasions, outlasted Holmes to claim a 19-13 win in the first three overtime game in school history. The contest was the MACJC north division opener for both teams.

The Rangers scored the winning touchdown when quarterback Brandon Myles of Pulaski, Tenn., scored on a two-yard run. Northwest thwarted Holmes’ possession in the third extra period when cornerback Walter Moody of Oakland recovered a Bulldog fumble.

The Rangers improved to 2-1 overall, while the Bulldogs dropped to 0-3.

The remnants of Hurricane Humberto that moved through the state of Mississippi dumped sheets of rain during the entire contest. The wet conditions led to eight fumbles, five by Northwest.

The Rangers had numerous opportunities to put the game away in regulation.

In the second half alone, Northwest fumbled the ball four times inside Holmes’ 30-yard line, missed a 27-yard field goal, and were stopped short on a fake field goal attempt.

The resilient Rangers were able to overcome all of that and also managed to rack up 318 yards of total offense compared to the Bulldogs’ 154.

“We don’t make excuses but you can not deny the fact that playing in a torrential down poor from start to finish affected our ability to take care of the football and consequently squander opportunities,” said Northwest head c∑oach Randy Pippin.  “But rather than dwelling on the negative, I want to commend our players on demonstrating extraordinary character by never giving up in the some of the darkest, most painful and sloppy times during the night.”

Northwest set a school record with 74 rushing attempts. The Rangers racked up 273 rushing yards, with freshman tailback DeMatanise Hill of Olive Branch accounting for 158 of those yards on 29 carries.

Hill was responsible for Northwest’s only score in regulation when he ran 11 yards for a touchdown with 1:38 left in the first quarter.

“DeMatanise represents the character of this team in that he is young, talented and improving with every play,” said Pippin. “ He is a lot like a steam engine.  It takes him a while to get going but once he does he is hard to stop.”

Holmes tied the game at 7-7 in the second period on a 14-yard run by tailback James Jackson.

Both teams had chances to score in the second half, but turnovers killed those opportunities.

The Bulldogs drove to the Ranger 22-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in regulation, but Northwest linebacker Thomas Majors of Nashville, Tenn., recovered a Holmes’ fumble.

Both teams fumbled away attempts to score in the first overtime.

In the second extra period, Hill put the Rangers in front 13-7 when he leaped into the end zone from two yards out. Holmes blocked Northwest’s PAT when Ranger place kicker Johnathan Neilson of Oxford slipped on the wet turf which led to a low kick.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 13-13 on the ensuing possession when second string quarterback Matt McCrory tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to receiver Roderick Lacy.

Ranger cornerback Anton Anderson of Oxford saved the day by blocking what would have been the game-winning PAT.

“We are not where we want to be, but after last night’s game we are definitely ahead of where we were,” added Pippin. “This could be a launching pad for some great things because the players held together through incredible adversity which should help us in the weeks to come.”

Northwest hosts MACJC north division rival Northeast Thursday, Sept. 20 at Bobby Franklin Field in Senatobia. The contest kicks off at 6 p.m.