Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College delivered two knockout punches in the second half Thursday, upsetting No. 3 Co-Lin 21-7 at A.L. May Stadium.
First, Jonathan Nance caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Kalen Whitlow to break at 7-7 tie with 10:54 left in the game.
Then Justin Stewart picked up quarterback Dominic DeLira’s fumble and raced 75 yards for a 21-7 lead with 8:18 left. Aretavious Hendrix picked off DeLira in the final seconds to ice the contest.
Gulf Coast is 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the South Division. Co-Lin fell to 2-1 and 0-1.
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“It’s a great team victory,’’ MGCCC coach Chad Huff said. “These guys have been battling, overcoming adversity. They played their hearts out tonight. They knew they had it in them.
“We talked all week that we had to win the line of scrimmage on both sides.’’
MGCCC sacked DeLira four times for minus 58 yards.
“It a was tough game,’’ Nance said. “We ran a go and I knew we could get them. I hoped the quarterback would throw a good ball and I made a play. We are happy.
“We weren’t worried about the (Co-Lin) ranking. We just needed three good days of practice and fresh legs and we knew we would dominate.’’
Stewart picked up the fumble after DeLira was sacked. Co-Lin had reached the Gulf Coast 9 with a chance to tie the game.
“Coach gave us a great call,’’ Stewart said. “When our linemen got to the quarterback, he fumbled it. I was there at the right time and I wanted to scoop it up and score. We played the whole 60 minutes.’’
The game was tied at 7 heading into the fourth quarter. T-Rod Daniels’ return for a Bulldogs touchdown on the second-half kickoff was negated by a penalty, and later Gulf Coast’s Joshua Rowland was wide left on a 36-yard field goal.
But the Bulldogs defense was unyielding until the offense made its second big play of the game.
Gulf Coast jumped on top 7-0 when Daniels dashed 75 yards for a touchdown with 14:50 left in the second quarter. It was the first MGCCC first down in the game.
Co-Lin answered two possessions later, marching 79 yards in seven plays capped by DeLira’s 6-yard touchdown pass to DeAnthony Blake for a 7-7 tie with 6:09 left before halftime.
Co-Lin seemingly had taken a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter when Pascagoula’s Griffin Sublett hit a 30-yard field goal. But Co-Lin accepted a personal foul penalty on the play. Two plays later, DeLira was sacked and fumbled, with the Bulldogs’ Willie Bates making the recovery at the MGCCC 8.
Daniels rushed for 103 yards on 13 carries.
Co-Lin’s Ladarius Galloway rushed for 105 yards on 28 carries and Blake made seven catches for 103 yards.