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 October 19, 2013

Fulton, Miss. – Corbin White’s prayers were finally answered in a big way against archrival Itawamba Community College on Thursday night.

The Nettleton native exceeded his total yardage for his entire freshman campaign in just one contest by running for a game-high 263 on 28 carries with two touchdowns.

Unfortunately, his breakout party was ruined on a last minute comeback by the 20th-ranked Indians. Northeast Mississippi Community College lost its fourth straight outing against Itawamba, falling 36-33 at Eaton Field.

It is the most rushing yards in one outing by a Tiger since Jaquise Cook was named the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Offensive Player of the Week for compiling 267 yards in a victory at East Mississippi Community College in 2010.

“It’s just a blessing to me. I just thank God and give it all to God,” said White. “I saw holes everywhere. I felt like if I cut back to the left there would be more room so I just ran.”

White entered the matchup with only 171 running yards for the whole season. A nagging injury hampered him at times earlier this year, but not against the Indians.

On a dew covered playing surface, White caused the Itawamba defense problems throughout the night with his cuts and spin moves. He toted the majority of his touches in the opening half, but it was his actions after the break that helped turn momentum heavily in the Northeast’s favor.

Dequinten Spraggins continued his strong sophomore season with by stepping in front of an Indian receiver and intercepting a Griff Loftis pass deep in their territory. White then capitalized with a 29-yard touchdown run that put the Tigers ahead 33-21 with 11:25 remaining in the contest.

A weird play moments later would turn the energy towards Itawamba’s sidelines and jump-start its successful come-from-behind attempt. Jabari Edwards picked off Loftis, but fumbled in the end zone while trying to return it.

Jaquez McMillian scooped up the mishandled ball for the score to bring the Indians (6-2, 4-1) within one possession of going ahead.

Loftis redeemed his mistakes with a touchdown pass to Jarvis Bentley and two-point conversion connection to Shante Rogers to aid Itawamba in retaking the lead with just 1 minute, 10 seconds left on the clock.

Starting quarterback Jerrard Randall led Northeast (3-5, 3-2) past midfield in the small amount of time left in the contest, but his pass downfield as the final horn sounded fell incomplete.

“I just feel so bad for these guys, man,” Northeast head coach Ricky Smither said. “They gave everything they had. I was proud of the whole team.”

The Tigers tallied 556 yards of total offense, their second highest output of the season, and were led by the ground attack.

Randall added 124 yards running for Northeast, which outrushed its adversary 402-167 and had 12 more first downs than the Indians.

“Oh my gosh, that was the game of the year for our backs, and some of these guys have ran awfully well,” said Tigers offensive line coach Mike Markuson. “But football’s a 60-minute game and we just didn’t finish in the end there.”

For the second week in a row, Northeast turned the ball over five times. Those miscues cost the Tigers and led directly to 28 Itawamba points.

The Indians touched the scoreboard first when a bad snap over punter Chris Cooper’s head was recovered by Myles Harges, who raced untouched across the goal line just two minutes into the matchup.

Darius White then hauled in an errant Randall pass to set up a 14-yard scoring strike from Loftis to McMillian that gave Itawamba an early 14-0 advantage.

Touchdown carries by Randall and White, the first of his collegiate career, got Northeast back into the game and down 14-13 after the opening quarter.

Itawamba jumped ahead 21-13 at halftime on the second of three Loftis scores through the air. The sophomore signal caller ended with 361 yards on 22 of 41 passing.

The Tigers reeled off 20 straight points to open the second half and take control of the contest. Randall got things started with a short touchdown toss to Khalil Stinson.

Cooper was good on back-to-back field goal attempts of 26 and 34 yards, the first giving Northeast its initial lead of the matchup at 23-21.

Randall, a Louisiana State University (LSU) transfer, added 154 yards passing to go with another nice rushing expedition.

Jamel Dennis added to his nationwide top-10 statistics in tackles with 11 and also had an interception. Ripley’s Razean Prather poured in another impressive showing with nine tackles, four of them for loss, and two sacks.

The Tigers were eliminated from playoff contention with the defeat, but could still tie for the runner-up spot in the MACJC North Division with a victory against Mississippi Delta Community College next Thursday, October 24.

Kickoff for Northeast’s 2013 season finale is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.

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