NORTHEAST MAKES HISTORY IN SEASON ENDING WINOctober 25, 2013
Booneville, Miss. – The patented ground attack of the Northeast Mississippi Community College offense helped the 2013 edition of the Tigers cement their names into the record books permanently on Thursday night.
Northeast scored 20 points in the opening quarter and never looked back in a 30-9 victory over Mississippi Delta Community College at Tiger Stadium to successfully wrap up the school’s 54th football campaign.
With the win, and Itawamba Community College’s loss to East Mississippi Community College, the Tigers clinch a share of the runner-up position in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division.
It is the seventh occasion in program history and the third time in four years that Northeast has claimed the second place spot in conference play.
“Last week took the air out of every one of us. For them to bounce back and do what they did shows a lot for them,” said Northeast head coach Ricky Smither. “I couldn’t be any more prouder of a group. They played well and represented our school well.”
The Tigers rolled up all 368 total yards of offense solely by running the ball against Mississippi Delta in the annual Pink Out Game to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Northeast (4-5, 4-2) did not attempt but six passes in the entire outing.
Corbin White recorded his second straight contest as the head rusher for the Tigers. After compiling 221 yards at Itawamba one week ago, the Nettleton High School graduate finished with 161 on 13 carries versus the Trojans.
His 63-yard touchdown run that started up the middle and ended down the Mississippi Delta sidelines put Northeast ahead 13-2 with 3:15 remaining in the first.
Under a minute later, Miguel Graham added the Tigers’ only defensive score of the year. The Maben native caressed a pass from Trojans starting quarterback Lane Williams and returned it 90 yards for a pick-six.
Graham’s third interception this season upped Northeast’s advantage to 20-2 after one period of action and seemingly took the breath out of Mississippi Delta (2-7, 2-4).
Jerrard Randall extended the lead to 27-2 with a five-yard touchdown run. He finished with 73 yards and got the Tigers on the scoreboard during their opening possession with his first quarterback sneak score of the night.
The Louisiana State University (LSU) transfer completed his campaign in Booneville with a team-best six rushing touchdowns while crossing the goal line a combined 14 times.
Northeast scored the only points of the second half on a 32-yard field goal by Chris Cooper. It was his third good connection in a row and sixth three-pointer this year.
Cooper was one of 19 sophomores that stepped onto the field and sidelines of Tiger Stadium for the final time while wearing the black and gold.
“We didn’t go to the playoffs, which I really wanted to, but at the same time I feel like I did everything here that I could to better this team,” said the Madison Central High School product. “I just love these guys. I don’t really know what to say, they’ve just been awesome and a great family.”
The Tigers kept the ball in the hands of their running backs and dominated the clock during the last two quarters. Seven different men tallied at least one carry for a Northeast squad that averaged 6.5 yards per carry in its finale.
Matthew Belue garnered a majority of the touches following the break with 65 yards, 47 of them in the last half, on a team-high 15 carries.
“This game meant something to the sophomores, and so us freshmen tried to step up a little bit,” Belue said. “I just tried to stay north to south, find a hole and hit it as hard as I could. We didn’t fold up the tent and got these guys a good win for their last one.”
Jaylon Daniels connected with Christian Stephney for a 37-yard touchdown pass for Mississippi Delta’s only offensive score of the matchup in the second quarter.
The Trojans also added a defensive two-point conversion when Devonta’ Allen blocked Cooper’s point after try following Randall’s first touchdown. Montavis Moore scooped the ball and returned it 85 yards to the end zone.
Jamel Dennis stayed true to his consistency with 14 tackles, ten unassisted and three of them for loss, to lead a Northeast defense that held Mississippi Delta to 38 yards after halftime and just 160 for the entire contest.
Four sophomores concluded their closing crusade with strong performances. Renova’s Justin Coleman had 10 tackles, five of them for loss, while fellow lineman Daniel Ross added seven takedowns.
Nick Johnson of Olive Branch registered eight tackles, while Gregdrecus Leland attained an interception and broke up two more passes.
The Tigers kept pressure on Williams and Daniels all evening and achieved a season-high 15 tackles for loss.
The triumph also signaled the first time ever that Northeast has defeated the Trojans in four straight matchups. The previous long of three wins in a row was set twice in 1986-88 and 2005-07.