Former Ohio State Buckeye Torrance Gibson was a headliner heading into Thursday’s junior college opener at A.L. May Memorial Stadium.
The new Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College quarterback certainly justified his hype, scoring twice in the Bulldogs’ 42-41 victory over Itawamba C.C., but it was local product Deandre Torrey who stole the show.
The Gautier native gashed the Indians all night, scoring on runs of 4, 18, 14 and 49 to boost the Bulldogs’ offense. He finished with 181 yards on 22 carries in his college debut.
“I knew he was a very talented player,” Huff said. “He’s special. We picked him (in recruiting).
“I thought the offensive line did an unbelievable job of controlling the line of scrimmage and he ran with his eyes, made some really good cuts, saw some grass and took it.”
While he was the victim of several drops and put too much zip on a couple other deep passes, Gibson still had a stellar debut. The Florida native ended up completing 16 of 31 passes to seven different receivers for 124 yards; he also rushed for 181 yards and scored on runs of 19 and 15 yards.
“He did a great job. I thought he did a great job of running our offense and keeping his composure,” Huff said. “He made some plays when he had the chance to. I was pleased with his efforts.”
The Bulldog offense wasn’t the only side of the ball performing in the first half. Darius Townsend recovered two fumbles and Saivion Smith blocked a short field goal attempt early in the game.
“Those were some big plays,” Huff said. “Coach (Stevon) Moore and Coach (Steve) Davis, they work on turnover drills all the time. You can tell they work on pulling the ball out.
“They were very active.”
The Indians made a game of it in the second half, scoring 20 unanswered on consecutive touchdown passes from Dan Ellington to Terry Williams for 11 and 42 yards and a 1-yard sneak as the buzzer sounded to end regulation.
ICC coach Sean Cannon opted to go for the win with a two-point conversion but Ellington’s pass was deflected incomplete by defensive back Aretavious Hendrix to send Gulf Coast’s sideline spilling onto the field.
“I knew he was going to go for two the minute they scored. He came down here to win it,” Huff said of the final play. “I was just praying we’d get there, stay in the coverage and someone would make a play.”
Ellington opened the game’s scoring with a 21-yard touchdown to Malik Honeycutt in the first quarter. Williams caught his first touchdown of the game early in the second quarter for a 13-yard strike. Ellington later rushed for his first 1-yard touchdown to cap ICC’s first half scoring.
Ellington finished the game 31 of 57 for 516 yards and four touchdowns.
“They have some chemistry. You can tell they played together,” Huff said of Ellington and Williams. “That chemistry matters. They made some big plays tonight.”
Gulf Coast returns to the field next Thursday for a high-profile rivalry matchup at East Mississippi in Scooba.