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Rangers Tame Bobcats in Season-Opener, 42-20

Marquisian Chapman (Murrah HS) races past a Jones County defender after hauling in one of his five passes for 123 yards. / Photo by JUCO Weekly.

Behind a balanced offensive attack with 526 yards of total offense and timely defensive plays, 16th-ranked Northwest Mississippi Community College raced past 19th-ranked Jones County Saturday night at a packed Bobcat Field, 42-20, to win its 2015 season-opener.

Northwest never trailed on the night, taking a 7-0 lead on its third series of the game after some trickeration. Gardner Minshew handed the ball off to Justin Crawford who pitched it back to Minshew and then connected with a wide open Jacob McCrary for a 61-yard touchdown on the flea flicker.

JCJC had to settle for a 20-yard field goal to end the first quarter after a nice red zone stand by the Rangers, making it 7-3.

Northwest’s next two drives resulted in touchdowns to stretch the lead to 21-6. Minshew capped a 75-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper and Max Joseph found pay dirt from 3-yards out to cap an 8-play, 69-yard drive.

JCJC took its opening drive of the second half 78 yards for a touchdown, scoring on the 11th play when Jarkeice Davis rushed in from 7-yards out. The ensuing PAT was blocked by Corey Brown to make it 21-12.

A promising drive for the Rangers down to the JCJC 19-yard line stalled out when Crawford was hit and fumbled but the Bobcats quickly went three-and-out their next drive.

Minshew’s second of three, 1-yard rushing touchdowns came on the Rangers’ ensuing possession. Northwest traveled 86 yards on 14 plays over 7:06 to push the lead back out to 28-12. McCrary’s acrobatic 29-yard grab on a free play put the Rangers in scoring position at the JCJC 2-yard line.

Thad Miller drove the Bobcats directly down the field to start the fourth quarter and pulled the Bobcats within 28-20. DeSherrious Flowers scored on a 6-yard rush and added the 2-point conversion.

That’s as close as JCJC would get the rest of the night, however, with Northwest tacking on two more touchdowns in the quarter on Minshew’s 1-yard rush and Crawford’s 4-yard run.

Steven Bradley and Jamison Goods each picked off Bobcat passes late.

In his collegiate debut, Minshew was 21-for-31 for 332 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns. He hit six different receivers on the night, including McCrary seven times for 144 yards and a score and Marquisian Chapman five times for 123 yards. Crawford rushed 22 times for 129 yards and a score.

Miller was 21-for-35 for 247 yards and two picks and connected with 10 different receivers for the Bobcats.

Bradley had 10 tackles to lead all Rangers, followed by eight by Quondarius Qualls and A.J. Smith.

Northwest will host 9th-ranked Gulf Coast (1-0) on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Story by Kevin Maloney/NWCCRANGERS.COM

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