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Turnover, injuries plague No. 20 Indians in disappointing loss
 October 1, 2012

Adam Gore/LetsGoICC.com

SENATOBIA, MS -- The 20th-ranked Itawamba Community College Indians had four turnovers in their 49-7 loss to the No. 4 Northwest Mississippi Community College Rangers on Thursday.

“Northwest played better than we did,” said ICC head coach Jon Williams. “They were the better football team and you have to give them credit because we haven’t been beat like that in a while. We are very disappointed ”

After trading a pair of punts to open the contest, the Rangers took a 14-0 first-quarter lead on rushing and passing touchdowns by Domonique Harris before adding 14 more points on a rushing touchdown by Damian Baker and a second scoring toss to Teshadi Talton from Harris to take a 28-0 lead into the break.

Northwest poured on 21 points in the third on rushing touchdowns by Baker and Mont Dean before a 13-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Devin Clark gave the Rangers a 49-0 lead heading into the final frame.

The Indians (3-2, 1-2 MACJC North) avoided the shutout when Griff Loftis (Mooreville) found sophomore Demarius Howard (Calhoun City) for a 14-yard touchdown pass, his only catch of the night, with 1:20 left in the game. Tyler Jackson (Oxford) added the extra point to bring the final score to 49-7 in favor of the Rangers.

“We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough game,” Williams said. “Their No. 4 ranking is a well-deserved ranking and they proved it and we didn’t even come close to playing like the No. 20 team in the country.”

The Indians totaled 185 yards of total offense (96 rushing; 89 passing) with Courtney Gladney (Olive Branch) rushing for 44 yards and Loftis passing for 89 yards on 13-of-22 passing with four interceptions and one touchdown along with Rashad Pargo (Aberdeen) hauling in one catch for 35 yards.

“We’ve relied on our defense so much over the last four weeks and this was one of those games that we needed to have a great outing offensively to take some of the pressure off them, but offensively we didn’t do anything,” said Williams.

The Rangers piled up 526 offensive yards (242 rushing; 284 passing) against the Indians' defense, who was leading the nation by only allowing less than 200 yards per game.

Shawn Goree (Shannon) totaled 12 tackles (3 solo; 9 assists) with Xavier Walker (Duluth, GA) and Randal Boyd (Forest) each added seven tackles. The Indians had eight tackles for a loss of 21 yards with Boyd, Pat Malone (Byhalia) and Quad Freeman (Guntown) each with one tackle for a loss of three yards.

Sophomore punter Asian Ruff (Dorsey) averaged 42.5 yards per kick on eight punts with two being downed inside the 20-yard line.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Williams. “There is plenty responsibility and accountability that goes around the whole team and coaching staff. I don’t think we were locked in mentally and we weren’t very sharp physically either.”

The Indians were without eight players against the Rangers, including former Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Defensive Player of the Week sophomore linebacker Deryck Gildon (Arlington, TX) and MACJC Offensive Player of the Week freshman quarterback Andrew Goodman (Charlotte, NC) -- both out with season-ending injuries.

“We’re missing some guys right now, but there are no excuses because we have adequate backups and they have to do their job,” Williams told JUCOWeekly.org after the game. “I don’t think a whole lot of people did their job. We have a lot to improve on and we will improve to get ready for next week.”

ICC will look to rebound as they step out of MACJC North play when they host Copiah-Lincoln Community College Thursday, October 4th for Military Appreciation Night at Eaton Field.

"This week of practice will be about getting back to the basics," said Williams. "We are going to focus on protecting the ball, making smarter decisions and executing better to play to the level I know we can play when we play fundamentally sound football."

The Wolfpack (4-1, 3-0 MACJC South) comes to Fulton winners of three-straight, including a 33-29 win over Jones County Junior County last week.

For more information on ICC football and the nine other intercollegiate athletic programs visit www.LetsGoICC.com.

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