Wolves earn first win in South Division opener
The Co-Lin Football team opened South Division play with a contest against their rival, Southwest Mississippi Community College, on Sept. 17. The Wolves beat the Bears 39-21, earning their first win of the 2021 season in the process.
The Wolves wasted little time getting an early lead in the game as the team scored on their first possession of the game. Sophomore running back Drexlan Allen (Hattiesburg) scampered in from 17 yards out capping off the four-play, 42-yard drive. The drive was set up by sophomore defensive lineman Demario Martin (Columbus) recovering a fumble by the Bears, the first of five forced turnovers by the Wolves defense on the night. The PAT was missed, giving the Wolves a 6-0 lead with 11:37 left in the first quarter.
The next touchdown for the Wolves came midway through the first quarter as freshman running back Bobby Shanklin Jr. had his first of two, two-yard rushing scores during the game. The score capped off a 10-play, 84-yard drive with 60 of the yards coming through the air. Another missed PAT gave the Wolves a 12-0 lead with five seconds left in the quarter.
Shanklin Jr. collected his second score of the game on the next Wolves possession, once again scoring from two yards out. The score finished off a three-play, 50-yard drive setup by sophomore defensive back Malik Jones (Crystal Springs) getting his first of two interceptions on the night. The PAT was good, increasing the Wolves lead to 19-0 with 12:52 remaining in the first half.
The Bears scored their first touchdown of the game on their next possession; however, the Wolves went on to regain their 19-point lead with a touchdown drive just before the first half ended. A nine-play, 84-yard drive was completed by the Wolves as sophomore quarterback Paul Hargrave (Natchez) connected with sophomore receiver Tyquan Henderson (Canton) from 25 yards out, and another successful PAT gave the Wolves a 26-7 lead with two seconds to go in the half.
Hargrave added his second passing touchdown of the night midway through the third quarter, completing a 21-yard pass to sophomore receiver Dontavious Turner (Magnolia) capping off a one-play, 26-yard drive setup by a fumble recovery by freshman defensive back Tyrese Ducksworth (Mize) during a punt return.
The final two scores for the Wolves came from the foot of sophomore kicker Bryce Lofton (Sand Hill) as he successfully put 25-yard and 26-yard field goal attempts through the uprights on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter. The Bears added a score of their own in between the two scoring drives by the Wolves, and the lead was 39-13 with 37 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The Bears added their final touchdown midway through the fourth quarter but never received the ball again as the Wolves offense ran out the final five minutes of the game to secure the 39-21 victory.
Paul Hargrave completed nine of 20 pass attempts for 147 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Drexlan Allen led the rushing attack with 89 yards on 11 carries with one touchdown, while Bobby Shanklin Jr. had 37 yards on nine carries with two touchdowns, and freshman running back Antonio Luckett (Carthage) added 51 yards on 11 carries paired with 110 yards on three kickoff returns.
Freshman receivers Chris Freeman (Brookhaven) and Dekyren Johnson (Oxford), along with Dontavious Turner, had two receptions apiece for 37, 26, and 35 yards respectively. Turner had one touchdown reception while Tyquan Henderson’s 25-yard touchdown reception was his lone catch of the game.
For the third consecutive week, sophomore defensive back Abdural Lee (Starkville) led the Wolves defense with eight total tackles (four solo and four assisted) while freshman linebacker Shawn Wade (Hernando) and sophomore linebacker Jamal Pye (Byhalia) had six tackles each. Sophomore defensive lineman Kadarius Miller (Magnolia) and sophomore linebacker Jalen Campbell (Winona) led the team in sacks with one each. The Wolves defense also had three interceptions during the game as a pair of sophomore defensive backs, Malik Jones and Trendon Gillon (Amory), accounted for those with Jones having two and Gillon with one.
Bryce Lofton was two-for-two on field goal attempts and three-for-five on PAT attempts. Lofton also carried a 42-yard average across five punt attempts with one going for a touchback and averaged 60.1 yards across eight kickoffs with four going for touchbacks.
The Wolves improve to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the South Division and will be back in action with a road contest against the Wildcats of Pearl River Community College. The action will kickoff at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 in Poplarville.