Calvin Malone’s career night couldn’t save the Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers.
Malone, a freshman tailback from Southaven, rushed for a season-high 171 yards and two touchdowns, but a flat and error-prone Northwest squad fell to the Coahoma Tigers 41-36 Oct. 8 at Bobby Franklin Field in Senatobia.
The Rangers’ playoff hopes took a severe hit. Northwest, 4-2 overall, must win the last two games on its schedule and hope for some help to have a shot at post-season play. Northwest is now tied with Coahoma for second place in the MACJC north division with both teams holding 2-2 records.
“We came out flat and they just out-played us,” said Ranger Head Coach Ricky Woods. “When you score 36 points, you are supposed to win. We didn’t tackle and just made too many mistakes to win tonight.”
Coahoma’s win was just the second in 35 games against Northwest since the two schools began playing in 1975.
It looked as though Northwest would pull off a great fourth-quarter comeback to earn the victory.
The Rangers trailed 35-23 headed into the final period, but scored a pair of touchdowns in a four-minute span to grab a 36-35 lead with 8:21 remaining. Northwest used a 14-yard scoring run by Malone and an 11-yard touchdown run from tailback Aubrey Shelton of Grenada to gain the advantage.
Coahoma answered with the game-winning score with 3:50 left to play on a seven-yard run by tailback Devacus Ireland who rushed for four touchdowns against the Rangers.
Northwest had one last chance on offense, but quarterback Casey Weston of Prattville, Ala., threw his third interception of the night which sealed the victory for Coahoma.
The Rangers hurt themselves all night with missed tackles, penalties, and dropped passes.
“Our guys learned tonight that you can’t just show up and win,”added Woods. “We need to come together and play better if we want to make the playoffs.”
The two teams exchanged score after score in the first two quarters, but Northwest was able to take a 23-21 lead at halftime.
Weston hooked up with receiver Michael Lindsey of St. Petersburg, Fla., on a pair of touchdowns in the first half. Lindsey added to his NJCAA-leading touchdown reception total of 11 by catching scoring tosses of five and 11 yards.
Malone, who rushed for 76 yards in the first half, added a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, while Ranger kicker Kevin Buford of Greenville booted a 28-yard field goal.
Northwest, which entered the contest leading the nation in passing offense averaging 347.8 yards, managed just 204 yards through the air against Coahoma, including only 80 in the second half.
The Tigers grabbed a 35-23 lead by out-scoring the Rangers 14-0 in the third quarter.