Northeast Mississippi Community college’s football team continued its hot start to the season Thursday night in Goodman.
Northeast (3-1, 2-0 in North Division) tallied 20 second-half points in knocking off Holmes 35-20 and setting up a big meeting with rival Northwest next week in Booneville.
Northwest dispatched Coahoma 37-7 Thursday night and both Northeast and Northwest enter the fifth week of the season 2-0 in the North Division. The winner of the Northeast-Northwest has a chance to control its own destiny in the North.
Northeast clung to a 15-14 lead at the half before breaking out for three scores in the final 30 minutes of action.
Steve Davis (Iuka) nailed his first field goal of the year when the Northeast freshman booted through a 26-yard field goal with 23 seconds left in the first half. Davis, Northeast’s punter, was filling in for an injured Taylor Earhart and made two extra points in addition to the 26-yard boot in his replacement role.
Davis’ kick gave Northeast momentum heading into the third quarter and Brynden Trawick (Atlanta, Ga.) did something that the Tigers had not done all season in the frame.
Trawick stepped in front of W.J. McAllister pass and slipped his way through the Holmes offense on the return for a 67-yard score. Trawick’s tally was the first time Northeast had scored in the third quarter. In the three previous games, Northeast had scored 76 points but none in the third until Trawick returned McAllister’s pass.
Trawick’s interception kept the pressure on the Bulldogs and Jeremy Spikner, who had two interceptions in the contest, helped quell a late third quarter drive by Holmes with the Olive Branch-native’s second interception of the game.
Following Northeast’s defensive stand in the third quarter that kept Holmes off the board, the Tigers offense got back on track and quickly added a pair of insurance scores.
Jonathan Goodloe (Leighton, Ala.) cashed in on his team-leading fifth touchdown of the year with a three-yard blast with 11:01 remaining in the game and Jaquise Cook (Ripley), who opened the scoring with a three-yard jaunt in the first, picked up his second touchdown of the game when the Tiger sophomore running back jetted in from 15 yards with 3:19 left.
Cook’s second score gave Northeast its biggest lead of the contest (35-14) and helped propel Northeast to its third win in four tries on the season.
Earlier in the contest, the two teams battled for the lead throughout the opening half with the lead changing hands five times in the first 30 minutes.
Cook staked Northeast to a 6-0 advantage with 8:01 left in the first quarter but the Tiger lead was short lived when McAllister hooked up with LeSean Williams on a 51-yard scoring strike less than 30 seconds after Cook’s score.
Northeast recaptured the lead with 4:56 left in the first quarter when Clint Wilson (Olive Branch) found Donte Barksdale (Southaven) from 25 yards out and gave the Tigers a 12-7 lead after the opening period.
Holmes battled back and McAllister hooked up with Williams once again at the 3:35-mark of the second quarter as the Bulldogs recaptured the lead when the duo connected on a 32-yard pass and Jonathan Smith nailed his second extra point in as many tries in giving Holmes a 14-12 advantage.
Davis was true on his 26-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the first half that gave the Tigers a 15-14 lead heading into intermission and the Tigers capitalized on turnovers in the second half in staying perfect in division.
Northeast’s win sets up a showdown with Northwest at Tiger Stadium on Thursday. Both teams enter the game with identical 2-0 marks in the North Division. Kickoff in the JUCO Weekly Game of the Week is set for 7 p.m. in Booneville.