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Northeast Mississippi Community College defeated Mississippi Delta Community College in its home opener at Tiger Stadium in front of a packed house on Thursday night the old fashion way.
Head Coach Ricky Smither’s offense executed its ground attack to perfection by tallying up 242 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, while controlling the ball for over 40 minutes, propelling the Tigers to a 26-13 victory against the Trojans.
"Our main key tonight was our ability to run the football ball, explained Smither. “Offensive line Coach Brad Boyette did one heck of a job with the offensive line this week and the kids responded by creating some running lanes for our backs. I couldn't be more pleased with our ground attack and my hats off to the guys for all their hard work."
Leading the way for the Northeast offense was a pair of running backs. Sophmore Jaquise Cook (Ripley), who rushed for 144 yards on 27 carries and one score, and freshman Jamarcus Goodloe (Leighton, Ala.), who pounded out 80-yards on 14 touches with two touchdowns on the evening.
In the first quarter, the Trojans gained good field position on a fumbled snap by punter Stevie Davis (Tishomingo) however, the Tiger defense held strong and forced Mississippi Delta to a 22-yard field goal by Ridge Rochell (Hollandale) with 11:44 showing after Delta moved the ball to a first-and-goal but were thwarted on its next three offensive plays.
Northeast quickly answered with a 9-play, 66-yard drive of their own, that was capped off by a 2-yard TD run by Cook with 7:46 left in the opening period. That score gave the Tigers a 6-3 lead after the missed PAT by Taylor Earhart (Olive Branch).
Northeast made up for the failed extra-point attempt, after a 3-yard touchdown plunge by Goodloe in the second quarter, when they capitalized on an two-point conversion that pushed their lead to 14-3. Earhart added to the Tigers' lead with 2:00 left in the half nailing a 25-yard field goal pushing the lead to 17-3.
Mississippi Delta responded in the third quarter scoring 10 points off a Jarvis Smith (Drew) 1-yard touchdown run and a 21-yard feild goal from Rochell.
After a scoreless third frame for Northeast, the Tigers picked things back-up in the fourth quarter with Goodloe trucking his way across the goal line on a 4-yard score with 13:38 left in the game. Ten minutes later. . . Earhart put the 'nail on the coffin' kicking a 30-yard FG to give the Tigers the 26-13 victory.
"Getting a win is always big," said Smither. "We didn't want to have a repeat of what happened last week at Southwest and we definitely wanted to pick up our first division win here at home.
With the win Northeast moved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the North Division while Delta dropped to 0-3, 0-1.
Defensively the Tigers were able to hold the Trojans to 188 total yards of offense while Tigers freshman CB Jeremy Spikner (Olive Branch) cashed in two interceptions on the night. Leading tacklers for Northeast was LB Anthony Brown who had seven solo stops along with free safety Brynden Trawick's who had six.
Penalties were a problem for both teams as 23 markers made their way to the turf totalling 234 total yards. The Tigers were penalized 11 times for 119 yards, while the Trojans were setback 12 times for 115 yards.
"We got to do better on minimizing our mistakes as the season goes on," Smither said. “We had too many errors tonight that could cost us a win down the road.”
Next week the Tigers will travel to Goodman to face the Holmes Commuity College Bulldogs in another North Division showdown. Holmes remains winless in 2010 at 0-3 but will be looking for victory number one when the Tigers roll into town.
Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. and the game can be heard beginning at 6:30 p.m. by logging onto http://www.teamline.cc/teampage?teamcode=1452, then click on football. At approximately at 8 p.m. the game will be joined live in progress on the 96.3 FM “The Ticket” immediately following “Dawgs Talk with Dan Mullen”.