Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Rangers pull out win over Northeast
By Brett Brown
NWCC Sports Information
Daniel Thomas isn’t listed as a quarterback on the Northwest Mississippi Community College roster this season. That’s the position he played last year for the Rangers.
Thomas, a sophomore tailback from Hilliard, Fla, was forced back into his old spot and responded by rushing for 167 yards and passing for 101 to lead Northwest to a thrilling 26-24 victory against the Northeast Tigers Sept. 20 at Bobby Franklin Field in Senatobia.
The Rangers, who improved to 3-1 overall, won their eighth consecutive MACJC north division contest. Northeast fell to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the division.
Northwest starting quarterback Brandon Myles of Pulaski, Tenn., suffered a concussion in the second quarter and did not return. Thomas, who is the Rangers’ starting tailback, led his team on three scoring drives of 60 or more yards.
Even though he didn’t score, quarterback Thomas hurt Northeast by accounting for 268 of the Rangers’ 422 yards of total offense. Thomas missed Northwest’s contest the previous week against Holmes due to a foot injury.
“Daniel is a quality player and a quality guy,” said Ranger Head Coach Randy Pippin. “He doesn’t let many things bother him. That’s why he is such a special part of this team.”
It appeared Northwest had sealed the deal when freshman tailback DeMatanise Hill of Olive Branch scored on a 23-yard touchdown run with 6:09 remaining to give the Rangers a 26-17 lead.
The Tigers moved the ball quickly down the field on their ensuing possession and cut their deficit to 26-24 when quarterback Emanuel Francis tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Travis Griffin with 1:35 left.
Northeast’s rally continued when it recovered an onside kick and moved the ball to the Ranger 11 with 18 seconds to play. The Tigers elected to attempt a game-winning 28-yard field on first down, but Jonathan Beard’s try went wide left giving Northwest its second consecutive victory against Northeast.
“It seems like we are doing everything the hard way, but we are thankful to be 2-0 in the division,” said Pippin. “Northeast is better than their record shows, and they played a great game tonight.”
The two teams battled to a 10-10 tie at halftime.
Northeast used a five-yard touchdown pass from Francis to receiver Anthony Jones and a 23-yard field goal from Beard for its 10 first-half points.
The Rangers countered with a seven-yard scoring run by Myles and a 22-yard field goal from Johnathan Neilson of Oxford.
The Tigers claimed a 17-10 advantage in the third period when Francis, who completed 20 of 36 attempts for 261 yards, tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jones.
Northwest reeled off 16 unanswered points to claim a 26-17 lead. Neilson started the rally by booting a 29-yard field goal for the Rangers.
On Northeast’s next possession, Northwest freshman defensive end Cory Hall of Chattanooga, Tenn., recovered a fumble at the Tiger 43-yard line. The Rangers used five plays to move the ball inside the five and scored when third-string freshman quarterback Malcolm Belim of Calhoun City found the end zone on a three-yard run.
Northwest forced the Tigers to punt from their own three-yard line on their next drive. Northeast’s 20-yard punt set up the Rangers at the Northeast 23. One play later, Northwest’s Hill sliced through the middle of the Tiger defense and scored to put the Rangers in front 26-17. The Rangers racked up 308 yards rushing in the contest on 49 carries.
The Rangers held Northeast to 244 total yards. The Tigers managed just 17 yards on the ground on 21 attempts.
Northwest will host the East Mississippi Lions Thursday, Sept. 27 in Senatobia. The MACJC north division contest kicks off at 6 p.m.