Rangers home opener

The 2019 Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers break the ribbon to enter the field at their home opener Thursday, Sept. 5 as the new artificial turf playing surface at Bobby Franklin Field was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony during pre-game. Local dignitaries were on hand to participate in the event, which highlighted a two-year, two-phase stadium refurbishment project at Bobby Franklin Field. Phase I, still underway, includes an Astroturf Gameday 3D Trionic playing surface, six-lane running track, new brick and iron fencing, and larger electronic scoreboard. Phase II, which will begin shortly, will feature a new stadium entrance, ticket booth and bookstore, updated press box, LED field lighting system, home bleacher expansion and visitor bleacher replacement.

Sophomore tailback Chris Calvert rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-10 home-opening victory for No. 4 Northwest against Southwest Mississippi on Thursday evening.

Northwest improved to 2-0 on the season as the visiting Bears dropped to 0-2.

After an interception on the opening possession gave Southwest Mississippi a short field, the Bears struck first with a 31-yard field goal from Brazos Webb, only to see the Rangers march it back down the field and tie it up on a 22-yard field goal from Cole Catalano.

A 3-3 tie would quickly be broken in the opening minutes of the second quarter as Calvert punched in a 3-yard carry to cap off a 12-play, 65-yard drive and give the Rangers a 10-3 advantage.

Northwest delivered another punch just a few plays later, as De Mays picked off Keyont Baines for a 32-yard pick six, pushing the Rangers' lead to 17-3 with 12:07 remaining in the first half.

Although the Bears would close the gap just a bit off a Zarious Keyes touchdown midway through the second quarter, the Rangers got the last laugh heading into the halftime with another Catalano field goal - this time from 20 yards out, making it a 20-10 lead at the break.

Just four plays into the second half, Calvert found paydirt again for the Rangers, scoring on a 65-yard dash down the Northwest sideline to make it a 27-10 lead early in the third quarter.

Northwest would get its final score of the evening with two minutes and change remaining in the third, as a botched Southwest punt resulted in a team safety and possession for the Rangers. The Bears failed to get much going in the final 15 minutes, allowing the Rangers to work the clock for most of the fourth quarter.

Northwest totaled 421 yards of total offense, 343 on the ground. On the other side, the Ranger defense limited the Bears to just 144 total yards of offense with 116 of those coming through the air.

Jack Walker finished 11-of-18 with 74 passing yards distributed to eight different Ranger receivers. Things also finished pretty evenly on the defensive side of the ball, as six players finished with three tackles for Northwest and seven more with two apiece.

Da'Bryan Magee came away as the biggest standout for Southwest Mississippi on offense, reeling in four catches for 86 yards.

Northwest will continue its three-game homestand with its MACJC North Division opener against Mississippi Delta next Thursday evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 P.M. at Bobby Franklin Field.

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