Gulf Coast got a big boost in last Thursday’s convincing 34-0 win over Hinds.
The Bulldogs (2-3) have struggled with inconsistent play this season but put together a complete effort in last week’s win.
Now Gulf Coast will head out of the South to play at North Division foe Mississippi Delta (1-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Trojans have struggled once again this year, but due in large part to possible point-differential tiebreakers down the line the Bulldogs can’t take their MACJC North Division opponent lightly.
“They’re athletic on defense with three of their out-of-state kids who can run. That will give us a challenge,” MGCCC coach Chad Huff said. “You have to respect your opponent every week. Anything less than that and you're leaving it to chance.”
The Trojans are a particularly young team, even for the junior college ranks, with a roster comprised of 44 true freshmen and only six sophomores.
Mixing it up
One big change last Thursday was the move of star defender Isaiah Buggs from defensive end inside to tackle. Buggs had alluded to the move prior to the Hinds game. The change paid off as his counterparts continually put pressure on the Hinds quarterbacks. Buggs finished with four tackles.
“He's strong enough and big enough to play inside and athletic enough to play outside,” Huff said of Buggs, who leads the team with 38 total tackles. “It was good for him to get in there and mix it up.”
As a whole, Gulf Coast recorded four sacks, two interceptions and a whopping five quarterback hurries.
“Coach (Steve) Davis and those guys made some adjustments, put guys in position that's better suited for what we're trying to accomplish,” Huff said. “Those guys are unselfish and did what we needed to do to win the game.”
Reggio Dean may not have some of the scholarship offers of his teammates, but the sophomore linebacker has been one of the Bulldogs’ best defenders during his time in Perkinston.
Dean earned the MACJC Defensive Player of the Week honor after recording seven tackles, one sack and a 51-yard pick-six in last week’s win over Hinds.
Dean is second on Gulf Coast with 36 tackles. He also has six tackles for loss and team highs in sacks (three) and forced fumbles (two).
“Reggio is the spark plug on that side of the football who gets us going,” Huff said. “He's the center of that defense playing the Mike position. Every week he plays hard and with great effort.
“He's a tremendously talented athlete and it means everything to him.”
Former Gulfport standout Jonathan Nance sustained a shoulder injury against Hinds. Huff said he’s day-to-day.
The Arkansas commit has been a reliable target for quarterback Kalen Whitlow, recording 12 catches for a team-high 139 yards.
Gulf Coast holds a 22-16 overall record against the Trojans and has won the last two meetings. The Bulldogs knocked off Delta 31-14 in 2011, the last meeting between the two teams.
Gulf Coast at Mississippi Delta
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Radio: 103.1 FM