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Copiah-Lincoln Wolves football squeeze past Pearl River, 27-24

By Copiah-Lincoln Community College Athletics

On a rainy night in H.L. Stone Stadium, the Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves took advantage of a plus-five turnover margin to outlast the Pearl River Wildcats, 27-24. The win improves Co-Lin to 2-0 on the year and drops the Wildcats to 0-2. The Wolves are back on the road next week as the team travels to Perkinston to face the defending NJCAA national champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.

After an early defensive stand on PRCC’s first possession, the Wolves picked up right where they left off a week ago as the team marched 59 yards on seven plays. Co-Lin got to the Wildcat 12-yard line on a big run from Paul Hargrave, before Drexlan Allen scampered to the corner for the 12-yard score. Just five minutes into the game Co-Lin led, 7-0.

Two punts later the Wildcats were on the board with an eight-play, 71-yard, drive that was assisted with a penalty. The drive was capped off with a 22-yard run from Will Young for the score. Going into the second quarter it was tied, 7-7.

A short Co-Lin possession led to the Wildcats getting a short field, and a great scoring opportunity, but Jemaurian Jones halted the would-be drive with an interception at Co-Lin’s six-yard line. The Wolves went on a lengthy drive, but were unable to score and turned the ball over downs. The Wolves got the ball right back on the next drive, however, as Lamar Gray forced a fumble and Kadarius Miller scooped it up. Once again the Wolves were unable to capitalize, but the rainy weather from Hurricane Delta put the ball on the turf yet again on PRCC’s next possession, this time it was picked up by Co-Lin’s Chris Rias. Nine plays and 50 yards later Bryce Lofton knocked in a 30-yard field goal to break the tie, 10-7, with just five seconds remaining in the half.

The Wildcats had the momentum in the second half as their opening drive tied the game at 10-10, then a pick-six from Noah Mitchell on Co-Lin’s ensuing possession put PRCC on top, 17-10.

On the next possession, the Wolves turned around the sputtering offense and manufactured a drive that saw solid completions to Lakenith Thompson and Liqouri Young. Hargrave broke out another 16-yard run and finished the drive with a beautiful toss-and-catch touchdown to Tyquan Henderson from 23 yards out in the back of the endzone. The score tied the game yet again, 17-17.

On the second play of the ensuing PRCC drive, Gray forced his second turnover with an interception at the Wildcat’s 27-yard line, setting up the Wolves with a short field.

After a holding penalty, Hargrave connected with Dontavious Turner for a 34-yard strike that put Co-Lin on the one-yard line. The left-handed quarterback from Natchez punched it in to put Co-Lin on top, 24-17.

Yet another PRCC turnover put the ball back in Co-Lin’s hands and Lofton finished out a 10-play drive with a booming 42-yard field goal to grow Co-Lin’s lead to 27-17 with 11:44 to play in the game.

Pearl River got one back late in the fourth on a 91-yard drive, but it was too-little-too-late as the Wolves ran out the clock on the following possession before kneeling out the clock.

The Wildcats outgained Co-Lin 331 yards to 274 with 166 passing and 165 rushing. Co-Lin depended more on the passing game with 198 yards through the air and 76 on the ground. Hargrave led Co-Lin’s passing attack with 172 yards on nine-of-18 attempts with one score and one pick. Max Rigby was three-of-nine for 26 yards. Allen led the ground game with 68-yards on 13 carries and one score, while Hargrave added one score and 44 yards. Henderson led the receiving corps with 75 yards and a score, while Erick Rogers hauled in two passes for 41 yards.

Bryce Lofton, the defending MACCC Special Teams Player of the Week, had another stellar night with two field goals, 42 and 30 yards, three-for-three on extra points, and five punts that averaged 39.6 yards. Gray led the Co-Lin defense with 13 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, and one interception. Xavier Curry and Hayden Hill also finished with double-digit tackles with 11 and 10, respectively.

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