Rangers stay unbeaten
Updated: October 6, 2015
SENATOBIA, MS – Jim Speights’ 35-yard field goal as time expired capped a game-winning 46-yard drive over 32 seconds and helped 5th-ranked Northwest Mississippi Community College stay unbeaten with a thrilling, 42-40 Homecoming win over Holmes on Saturday.
Northwest improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the north division while Holmes dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in division play. The Rangers are the lone unbeaten team in the MACJC after Pearl River’s upset of No. 1 Co-Lin, 17-9, on Saturday.
Holmes gave Northwest all it could handle, piling up 598 total yards, including 454 on the ground. The triple-option attack worked to near perfection for the Bulldogs with Aquindus Henson rushing for 186 yards and a score and Dejerric Bryant going for 131 and two scores.
Leading 17-13 at the half, Northwest put some distance on the scoreboard just 6 minutes into the third quarter.
Northwest scored on its opening drive of the second half, driving 74 yards on nine plays, capped by a 1-yard Justin Crawford touchdown run. Gardner Minshew was 3-for-4 on the drive for 53 yards to setup the score. Just 2 minutes later with the Bulldogs driving, Anthony Gund forced a Henson fumble and Chris Fobbs scooped and scored from 50 yards out to make it a 31-13 Ranger lead.
Holmes fired right back, however, scoring on three straight drives to jump in front 33-31 with 10:34 to play.
Henson rushed in from 8 yards to cap a 68-yard drive and Treviante McDaniel scored on back-to-back drives from 3 and 15 yards on the ground after a successful onside kick attempt.
Northwest forced a Holmes 3-and-out after an unsuccessful drive themselves, and pushed in front 39-33 with 6:53 to play after Minshew hit Ryan Golden in stride for a 34-yard touchdown.
After a missed field goal that would’ve likely iced the game for Northwest, Holmes drove 79 yards on 11 plays, capped by Bryant’s 10-yard touchdown run with 37 ticks left. The ensuing point after attempt from Kyle Settlemir, a 35-yard try after a penalty, was good and the Bulldogs led 40-39.
Electing to squib kick it instead of kicking it deep, Romeel Cochran returned the Holmes kickoff to the Northwest 36-yard line with 32 seconds remaining on the clock and all three timeouts left for the Rangers.
Minshew hit Golden for a 25-yard gain to the Holmes 39-yard line and Northwest immediately called timeout. After three straight incompletions, Minshew floated a perfect pass to Marquisian Chapman for a 21-yard gain on 4th-and-10 and used a timeout with 4 seconds left at the 18-yard line.
Speights, who had missed two field goals earlier in the game, got his redemption as time expired, banging through a 35-yard field goal to lift Northwest to its second come-from-behind win in as many games.
Crawford accounted for 270 all-purpose yards on the night (193 rushing, 77 receiving), passing former NFL first round draft pick, John Avery, into first all-time in all-purpose yards. Minshew threw for 298 yards and three scores on 14-of-32 aim, connecting with Golden five times for 129 yards and a score.
Defensively for the Rangers, Devante Davis racked up a game and career-high 16 tackles, followed by 14 from Malik Hawkins, 12 from Quondarius Qualls and 11 from Steven Bradley.
Northwest will travel to Moorhead next Saturday, Oct. 10, for a 2 p.m. kickoff at Mississippi Delta (2-4, 2-1 north).