WESSON, Miss. - An 86-yard pick-six from sophomore Tyrus Wheat and a 55-yard strike from Danny Clark to Malik Heath were the difference makers Thursday night as the No. 13 Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wolves defeated Northeast Mississippi Community College 14-7. The win moves Co-Lin to 2-0 on the year and drops the Tigers to 1-1. The Wolves are back on the gridiron next Thursday, September 12, as the team makes its first road trip of 2019 with a trip to Poplarville to take on Pearl River who is 1-1 after a 45-15 loss to East Miss Thursday night. Fans can keep up with the action next Thursday by listening live at WMJU 104.3 FM or at colinathletics.com/listen.
Much like last season, the game started with several punts as the defenses dug in. Midway through the first, after a Co-Lin three-and-out, punter Bryce Lofton pinned the Tigers on their own one-yard line with a beautiful ball. Co-Lin's defense capitalized on the opportunity and surrendered just six yards on a defensive stand led by Jalen Ware, Lawilliam Holmes, Jalen Campbell, and Tavarian McCullum. The Tigers bobbled the snap on the ensuing punt from their own endzone which resulted in a safety, putting the Wolves on top 2-0.
The second quarter was much of the same as both offenses struggled to get into rhythm. The Tigers got great field position on a muffed punt but were unable to capitalize on the short field as Wolves defense once again stood their ground. Northeast's Michael Baugus' 34-yard field goal attempt missed wide left which kept Co-Lin on top 2-0 with 12:00 left in the second quarter. Northeast threatened again late in the second quarter, but another Tiger field goal attempt failed. Co-Lin took a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Early in the second half, a second muffed punt set up the Tigers deep in Co-Lin's territory once again. Northeast seemed to have the momentum as they began their drive, but Wheat jumped a route and took an interception 86-yards for a score. The ensuing point-after attempt was blocked, but the huge momentum swing put Co-Lin on top 8-0 with 10:29 to play in the third quarter.
Midway through the third, the Tigers had the short field for the third time after yet another Co-Lin fumble. The Wolf Pack defense once again made a stand as Natrone Brooks, Keyshawn Brinkley, Jordan Davis, and Sherman Mitchell all stepped up and made tackles. The stand resulted in another Northeast field goal attempt, which also missed wide left to keep the score at 8-0.
The Tigers cut the lead to just one, 8-7, early in the fourth after quarterback Jack Mangel found Carson Banks for an 8-yard toss and catch. The score capped off a 10-play, 57-yard drive with just 13:25 left to play.
Later in the fourth, after a Northeast punt, Co-Lin went with the long-ball to start a drive from near midfield. Malik Heath got behind the Tigers' defense and Danny Clark hit the streaking sophomore for a 55-yard score. The extra-point was blocked again, which gave the Wolves a 14-7 lead with 9:07 left to play.
Co-Lin's defense continued their stellar play for the remainder of the contest to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard late in the game. Sophomore Tyrus Wheat snagged his second pick of the game with 3:37 left on the clock to help secure the non-divisional win.
JJ Jernighan led Co-Lin's rushing attack with 47 yards on 11 carries, while Clark was 7-of-21 for 117 yards and a score. Heath's 55-yards led the team, while Dawson Brown hauled in two receptions for 21 yards.
Hayden Hill and R'Tavius McGee led the Wolves' defense with eight tackles each, while Jalen Bedell, Sherman Mitchell, Kason Chinn, and Jordan Davis all wrapped up sacks, including a strip-sack from Davis.
Co-Lin's Lofton had 12 punts in the game and helped set the Wolves' defense up with six punts landing inside the 20.
Next week's game begins division play as the undefeated Wolves take on Pearl River in Poplarville.