By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
SENATOBIA – Ricky Woods has seen plenty of good football games in his days of roaming the sidelines. But against Itawamba on Thursday night, he saw one of the better contests of his coaching career.
Woods, the former head man at South Panola who started their string of multiple state championships, and his Northwest Rangers defeated ICC 49-7 in a battle of nationally ranked teams at Bobby Franklin Field.
“This is probably the best we’ve played since I’ve been here in five years,” said Woods. “We clicked tonight and it was good. I was pleased with every one of them.”
For a time the game felt like the defensive battle it was built to be. Both squads went three-and-out on their first two possessions.
After that, the floodgates opened on back-to-back interceptions of ICC quarterback Griff Loftis by Aaron Thompson and Demarcus Pegues.
Northwest QB Domonique Harris converted both turn-overs into scores – a one-yard keeper and a touchdown pass to Teshadi Talton.
The No. 4-ranked Rangers (4-0, 3-0 MACJC North Division) used a TD run by Damian Baker and another long scoring connection from Harris to Talton to build a 28-0 halftime lead.
A 77-yard kickoff return by Talton to open the second half set up Baker’s second score of the night under two minutes into the third.
Two more touchdowns, one on a 33-yard run by Mont Dean, propelled the Rangers to a 49-0 edge after three quarters.
No. 20 ICC’s defense entered the game leading the MACJC by allowing only 148 yards per game. The Rangers smashed that mark, compiling over 300 yards by halftime and finishing with 526.
The Indians (3-2, 1-2) were without six injured starters, but coach Jon Williams viewed that as no excuse.
“We’ve got very adequate backups and there’s not a whole lot of drop off there in our opinion,” he said. “Everybody has to do their job, be it a starting role or backup role, and tonight everyone didn’t do their job.”
Loftis. from Mooreville, hit Demarius Howard for a late 14-yard TD.
Gulf Coast 61, Northeast 7: The Tigers (1-4) were blitzed on the road, getting outgained 547-153 by the 10th-ranked Bulldogs.
Clint Hatten threw four TD passes for the winners (4-1), who led 26-0 at halftime.