BY: Brian Lentz Northwest Sports Information
SENATOBIA – Behind nearly 400 yards of total offense and a solid defensive effort, No. 4 Northwest cruised to a convincing 33-3 victory against Mississippi Delta at Bobby Franklin Field on Thursday night.
With the win, the Rangers solidified a 3-0 start to the season for the fourth time in the last five years, while also starting MACJC North Division play at 1-0. Mississippi Delta dropped to 0-3 (0-1 division) with the loss.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Trojans' opening possession, Northwest marched 60 yards down the field on eight plays in a span of less than four minutes, as sophomore Urriah Shephard capped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown carry. Freshman Cole Catalano would add the ensuing PAT to put the Rangers up 7-0 with 9:19 left in the first quarter.
Northwest would add to the lead on its next drive, thanks to a 33-yard field goal from Catalano that made it a 10-0 advantage for the Rangers late in the first quarter.
Mississippi Delta threatened to slice the lead down to three after driving all the way down to the Rangers' 1-yard line to open the second quarter, but the Northwest defense stood tall, as Tyren Irby ultimately denied the Trojans on 4th & goal with a 7-yard sack.
Northwest would then take full advantage of the defensive stand, marching 92 yards on nine plays with Jaquerrious Williams reaching the end zone on a 19-yard carry.
After a botched Trojan punt resulted in a safety for Northwest, Shephard responded once again for more Ranger points, adding his second touchdown of the night from two yards out to give Northwest a comfortable 26-0 hafltime advantage.
Although Northwest would score only once in the second half, the Rangers made it one of the most electric plays of the night as Jack Walker connected with Braden Smith on a 61-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter.
Spencer Romero added a fourth quarter field goal from 26 yards out to help Mississippi Delta avoid the shutout but the Trojans made no real threat to close the deficit in the second half, as the Rangers improved to 22-2 at home since the start of the 2015 season.
Walker notched his best performance of his short Northwest career, finishing 10-for-15 with 225 passing yards and a touchdown. Smith led the Ranger receiving corps with four receptions for 113 yards while Williams and Shephard accounted for 96 of the Rangers' 132 rushing yards.
Defensively, Walt Hopson and Kylan Robinson led Northwest with seven tackles apiece, with Robinson and Irby finishing with a sack each. Jarvis Townsend also recorded two pass breakups on the evening.
Although MDCC did earn 191 yards through the air, the Ranger defense held the Trojans' ground game in check, limiting the visitors to 41 yards on 30 carries.
Northwest will close out its three-game homestand on Thursday, September 19 against Copiah-Lincoln at 7 p.m. Live stats and an HD broadcast will be available through nwccrangers.com.