Raymond, Miss. – Mackenro Alexander has made a number of huge plays on the gridiron, but the one that he was part of during Northeast Mississippi Community College's final non-division tune-up was a first for the consensus three-star prospect.
Alexander returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the Tigers' 44-13 loss to nationally ranked Hinds Community College on Thursday, September 3 at Joe Renfroe Stadium.
"When I get the ball in my hands, I'm a different person," said Alexander. "I faked like I was going to the middle, cut back to the outside and just took off. I broke about two tackles and I was off to the races."
The Eagles setup for a 47-yard try early in the fourth quarter. Lineman Anthony Rush blocked Tommy Boone's attempt and the ball took a bounce perfectly into the hands of Alexander, who was stationed at the goal line just in case a situation like this occurred.
The transfer from Auburn (Ala.) University then raced down the Northeast sidelines for a 97-yard touchdown. He was assisted by a number of excellent blocks downfield from Nicky Martin, Brady Smith and Rush.
"Coach (Kareem) Moore told him to move back and next thing you know he makes something happen," Northeast headman Greg Davis said. "It was a great play by him individually, but it was even better because the kick block team did a great job setting up walls for him."
It was the first special teams score for the Tigers since Deion Belue, who was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American at Northeast and a Southeastern Conference (SEC) champion at the University of Alabama, sprinted into the end zone on a 90-yard kickoff return against Coahoma Community College on October 13, 2011.
It was also the second blocked field goal by a member of the Tigers in as many years. Current Delta State University star Jamel Dennis got a hand on an attempt just before halftime at Mississippi Delta Community College last season.
Hinds, which appears at No. 20 in the latest NJCAA rankings, added points on seven of its initial eight drives of the contest. The Eagles took the opening kickoff and scored less than five minutes later on a four-yard pass from TR Page to Bryant McDuffie.
Mishandled long snaps on two consecutive punts by Northeast allowed Hinds to take possession with great field position. The Eagles turned the miscues into a 17-0 lead after a Marquez McNair touchdown reception and a 36-yard field goal from Mason Sollie.
Tiberias Lampkin's inaugural score with the Tigers helped the visitors respond early in the second quarter. He eluded two potential tacklers and knocked down the pylon on a dive to complete a beautiful 19-yard touchdown.
The West Oktibbeha High School product guided Northeast's offense with 17 touches for 100 yards. Lampkin is currently sixth in the Magnolia State with 174 total yards through two outings.
"My offensive line did a great job," said Lampkin. "I just worked hard and prepared for it all week long trying to run extra. I gave it my all because I knew it was going to be a trench war."
Hinds (2-0) extended its advantage to 34-7 by the intermission with two straight lengthy scoring catches by Javon Wims and the second of three successful field goals from Sollie.
DJ Sims had the lone rushing touchdown of the evening for the Eagles on a short jaunt just after the break. Sollie gave Hinds its final points on a 31-yard make with 4:04 remaining in the third.
Wims paced the Eagles with 191 yards on six receptions while the quarterback duo of Jaquez Parks and Page combined to go 17 of 32 through the air for 293 yards and four scores.
Shaquille Bush and Brandon Tillman both set new career-highs with six tackles apiece to top Northeast defensively. Tillman also had a pass break up in the end zone to thwart another possible Hinds touchdown.
The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division portion of the schedule begins for the Tigers on Thursday, September 10 at Northwest Mississippi Community College (2-0). Kickoff between the two rivals is slated for 6:30 p.m. in Senatobia.