For the second consecutive week, Northwest posted over 500 yards of total offense and 40-plus points on the scoreboard as the Rangers defeated Mississippi Delta, 44-6, on Thursday night at Bobby Franklin Field.
With the win, Northwest concluded the regular season at 5-0 and claimed its second straight MACCC North Division title and the 18th in program history. The victory also solidified the Rangers their 31st playoff berth all-time and fifth trip to the MACCC title game in the last six seasons.
Northwest shook off an early turnover and responded with a three-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a receiving touchdown for sophomore Jaquerrious Williams, giving the Rangers a 7-0 lead midway through the opening quarter.
Although Mississippi Delta answered back on its next possession with a 38-yard touchdown from Lorenzo Perez, the Ranger defense took over the rest of the way, holding the Trojans to just 37 yards on the ground and 146 yards of total offense. MDCC would not score again the rest of the contest.
Meanwhile, the Rangers kept the tempo going on the offensive side of the ball and racked up a season-high 44 points. Sophomore Jamie Shaw capped off the first quarter with his second career touchdown, a nine-yard carry, that put Northwest up 14-6.
Northwest would move the ball deep inside Trojans' territory on its first possession of the second quarter, but a pair of miscues sent the Rangers backwards. Freshman Tucker Barefoot’s 49-yard field goal attempt would slide just left, but the Clinton native redeemed himself on the Rangers' next drive, knocking through a career-best 35-yard kick to put Northwest ahead 17-6.
With a little over a minute left in the first half, Fred Watson Jr. blocked the Trojans' punt and gave the Rangers good field position and a shot to extend their lead before halftime. The offense would take full advantage with 24 seconds remaining, reigning MACCC Offensive Player of the Week Michael Hiers hit sophomore speedster Keyon Fordham on a 20-yard touchdown pass to give Northwest a comfortable 23-6 advantage.
Mississippi Delta managed to move the ball to the Rangers' 36-yard line to open the second half, but a huge sack by Nijel McGriff put the brakes on the Trojans' momentum, forcing another MDCC punt. Northwest would then embark on a six-play, 87-yard drive that culminated in a 49-yard scoring pass to D.T. Sheffield, stretching the Rangers' lead to 30-6.
Northwest closed out the third quarter with a drive dominated by Randy Anderson, as the freshman from Oxford was responsible for 56 of the Rangers' 70 yards on the final possession of the quarter, including a short two-yard touchdown that propelled the lead to 37-6.
With the division title in sight, the Rangers burned the clock for the majority of the fourth quarter and delivered one final score off a short touchdown from freshman Kenyatta Harrell.
Northwest racked up 537 yards of total offense and 289 rushing yards, led by 133 yards and a touchdown from Harrell. Shaw and Anderson also compiled 60 and 47 yards on the ground, respectively, while Williams finished as the game's leading receiver with 95 yards on two catches to go with 50 rushing yards.
Hiers finished 11 of 16 with 244 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing no interceptions. For the season, the Birmingham, Ala. native is 78-of-111 with 1,213 yards, 12 touchdowns and just one interception.
Defensively, everyone seemed to get in on the action for the Rangers, led by eight tackles and a sack by Kylan Robinson. Sophomore Desmyn Baker also compiled six tackles, a tackle-for-loss and a pass breakup, while Micheal Campbell and Byron Pearson finished with five tackles apiece.
Northwest punter Tanner Gillis had a quiet day for the second straight game, as the Rangers did not attempt a punt. Northwest also only attempted one punt in last week's win at Holmes.
Barefoot finished 1-for-2 on field goal attempts and 5-for-5 on PATs.
For Mississippi Delta, the Trojans were led by 15 completions and 109 passing yards from Freddie Byrd. Stemarion Edwards posted 10 tackles to led the Trojans' defense.
Northwest improved to 46-23-2 all-time against Mississippi Delta and captured its eighth straight victory against the Trojans.
Northwest will now set its sights on the MACCC Championship game, featuring a rematch of last year's title game against Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Bulldogs (5-0) claimed the MACCC South Division title on Thursday night with a 35-8 victory against Jones College.
Kickoff from Perkinston is slated for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 with live coverage available at nwccrangers.com/watch.