Hinds knocks off No. 1 Northwest, 28-24

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 6, 2002

Von Mixon (8), a former Vicksburg High star, weaves through the Northwest defense on his way to a 27-yard touchdown for Hinds in the second quarter Thursday night. Mixon caught five passes for 88 yards and the one touchdown to help the Eagles beat Northwest, ranked No. 1 in the country, 28-24. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[09/06/02]RAYMOND Two of the smallest players on the Hinds roster made the big plays in the 18th-ranked Eagles’ stunning 28-24 win over top-ranked Northwest (0-1) on Thursday at Joe Renfroe Stadium.

Running back Mason Denham of Port Gibson, a 5-foot-8, 200-pounder, and former Vicksburg High receiver Von Mixon (5-7, 155) scored three of Hinds’ touchdowns as the hosts erased a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

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“Northwest Rankin, I mean Northwest, has been bragging, talking about how good their defense was,” said Mixon, who had 88 yards on five receptions and a 27-yard TD catch. “But we came out hard.”

Northwest, which lost starting quarterback Bobby Robison early in the fourth quarter with an injured wrist, had three chances to score inside Hinds’ territory in the final eight minutes of the game, but two fourth-down conversions failed and a deep pass by Dallas Mooneyham was intercepted by Torrance Hampton to secure the Eagles’ win.

“We came out and gave 110 percent and it feels great,” Denham said. “Coach told us at halftime to take ownership and that’s what we did.”

Northwest scored two quick touchdowns on their first and second offensive possessions. Robison connected with John Harris on both scores, from 14 and then 30 yards out, but Hinds battled back.

The Eagles tied the game in the opening seconds of the second quarter on Denham’s 1-yard run. Mixon’s touchdown, a 27-yarder, came less than two minutes later after the Eagles recovered a Northwest fumble.

The Rangers, who entered the season No. 2 nationally but moved into the top spot this week, took a 17-14 halftime lead.

Hinds regained the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Terrance Matthews before the Rangers scored on a 1-yard run by Quterria Tunstall for a 24-21 lead.

After Hinds gave up the ball on the next possession, Robison was injured and the Eagles’ defense peppered Mooneyham.

Hinds took the lead for good on a Denham 1-yard plunge midway through the fourth quarter, 28-24. The winning score was set up by a 40-yard pass to Mixon.

“In practice we ran that and I ran to the center,” said Mixon, a Vicksburg High graduate. “This time I saw 45 coming at me, so I just stepped to the side and I was there.”

Hinds, which suffered an uncharacteristic losing season in 2001, will host Itawamba on Thursday. Itawamba is coached by former Hinds defensive coordinator Jeff Terrill.

“Let everyone know,” Denham said. “Hinds is back. Hinds is back.”