NWCC playoffs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NWCC to host Gulf Coast Saturday

By Kevin Maloney
NWCC Sports Information

The 4th-ranked Northwest Rangers roll into the first round of the MACJC State Playoffs riding a nation-best 11-game winning streak and will welcome 15th-ranked Gulf Coast to Bobby Franklin Field on Saturday, Nov. 6 for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

Under the guidance of third-year head coach Ricky Woods, who calls this one of his “finest coaching accomplishments of his career,” the Rangers enjoyed their first undefeated regular season in a decade while claiming their 11th MACJC North Division title and first since 2006.

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Led by the state’s stingiest defense (12.4 ppg) behind first-year defensive coordinator Andy Greening, the Rangers have held opponents to just six touchdowns in the last six games and have racked up 23 total sacks. Northwest’s defense also ranks tied for first in the state in turnover margin (+7), second in rushing defense (99.6 ypg) and fourth in total defense (283 ypg).

Sophomore linebacker Sam Small, who was recently named the Northwest Alumni Association Player of the Year, leads the defense with 83 tackles, five interceptions and 12 passes defended (11th nationally), whereas Renaldo Buck and Jamontay Pilson have combined for 18 tackles-for-loss and 10 of the Rangers’ 23 sacks. As a team, the Rangers have picked off 14 passes and broken up 37 more.

Offensively, Northwest is averaging 31.3 ppg and is sixth in the country in total offense at 411.6 yards-per-game, including 207.6 ypg on the ground.

Behind the leadership of freshman quarterback Brent Osborn, who’s thrown for 1,800 yards, 16 touchdowns and completed 64.6 percent of his passes, the Rangers have gone over the 500-yard mark twice and continued to impress under offensive coordinator Jack Wright.

Sophomore wide receiver Myles White, a Michigan State transfer, leads the nation with 48 receptions for a team-high 636 yards and five touchdowns and has been a huge spark on the Ranger offense with four 100-yard games. Three other Rangers have also caught 25 or more passes, including Xavier Lee (37 catches, 382 yards, 5 TDs), Jamal Mosley (28 catches, 270 yards, 2 TDs) and Jay Jones (25 catches, 253 yards, 3 TDs).

Head coach Steve Campbell and 15th-ranked Gulf Coast, ranked No. 1 for two weeks in late September, enters Saturday’s game with a 7-2 overall mark and will look to make a statement with their powerful running game and total offense that ranks No. 4 in the NJCAA.

The winner of Saturday’s game will play the winner of No. 12 Copiah-Lincoln and East Mississippi (kickoff at 5 p.m.) for the 2010 MACJC State Championship on Nov. 13.