Junior Colleges

MGCCC looking to get back on track against No. 3 Co-Lin

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College running back Melvin Stevenson turns the corner against East Mississippi on Sept. 8. The Bulldogs host Copiah-Lincoln on Thursday.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College running back Melvin Stevenson turns the corner against East Mississippi on Sept. 8. The Bulldogs host Copiah-Lincoln on Thursday. MGCCC

The start of the 2016 season has not gone as planned for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Not remotely.

Heading into the season, the Bulldogs had high hopes. With a talented roster, MGCCC knew it could set itself up for a state title and possibly more if things went a certain way.

Instead, the Bulldogs lost at Itawamba to open the season and were routed by East Mississippi last week.

Even with the disappointing start, the Bulldogs can still make noise in the MACJC — but they’ll have to start Thursday against a dangerous No. 3 Copiah-Lincoln team.

The Wolfpack (2-0) visit A.L. May Memorial Stadium in Perkinston after lopsided victories over Mississippi Delta (44-0) and Coahoma (26-6).

The Bulldogs (0-2) will need to keep their heads up, defensive coordinator Steve Davis said.

Although the East Mississippi loss was lopsided, Davis liked what he saw from his team — at least through two quarters.

“I was really proud of our guys. We played really hard in the first half. We played smart and hard. But when we started making mental mistakes, they started being successful,” Davis said after the 45-7 loss. “Our team right now has a tendency to drop their heads when something bad happens. We have to change that. They played really hard and really smart for a half and look what the score was.

“I’m not giving up on them and they’re not giving up on each other, either.”

Early on against East Mississippi, MGCCC moved the ball down field only to turn the ball over twice in the red zone. If they’re going to up-end a talented Wolfpack, the Bulldogs will need to take better care of the football Thursday.

“You can’t turn the ball over on two different trips into the red zone early when you have a chance to make it 21-0,” Huff said. “We have to get back offensively, keep working and keep getting better. We need some guys to make some plays.”

Scouting the Pack

Co-Lin has two Coast products on its roster: Ocean Springs defensive back Isaiah Swopes, who transferred from Belhaven, and Pascagoula kicker Griffin Sublett. Former Gulfport standout Alton Conerly said he is redshirting this season.

The Wolfpack also has four players listed on 247Sports’ composite junior college rankings: Defensive tackle Deion Pope, offensive lineman Tommy Champion, and defensive ends Montez Sweat and Joe Anderson. Pope, Champion and Sweat are all Mississippi State commits. Anderson signed with Ole Miss out of high school.

Unfamiliar territory

For the first time since the Sept. 20, 2005 poll, MGCCC is unranked. The Bulldogs fell out of the NJCAA’s Top 20 rankings after their rare 0-2 start to the season. The Bulldogs were ranked in the Top 20 for 143 straight weeks.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

Copiah-Lincoln at Gulf Coast

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: A.L. May Memorial Stadium

Radio: 103.1 FM

Streaming: MGCCCBulldogs.com

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