Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (2-1) is feeling good heading into Thursday’s 7 p.m. kickoff against East Central at A.L. May Memorial Stadium.
After stumbling at East Mississippi two weeks ago, the Bulldogs (2-1) took it to then-No. 13 Copiah-Lincoln last week to regain some confidence.
“We were physical,” Gulf Coast coach Chad Huff said in a release Tuesday. “There were still a lot of mistakes that we can get better (from), but at the end of the day, winning the line of scrimmage is the name of the game and I thought we did that on both sides of the football.”
The Bulldogs rushed for 223 yards as a team with Stone’s Terrion Avery collecting a team-high 110 yards while Gautier’s Deandre Torrey broke free for 101 and a touchdown.
Former Ohio State signee Torrance Gibson also threw his first two touchdowns as a Bulldog last week. He ended up completing 13 of 22 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
Former Laurel standout Tyquan Ulmer has been a top target of Gulf Coast’s receivers. He leads the team with 15 receptions, 156 yards and two touchdowns.
Huff was particularly pleased with the play of his defense against Co-Lin as the Bulldogs held their opponent to 280 total yards.
“Defensively, I thought we did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage,” Huff said. “They didn’t run the ball for much. Their quarterback had a couple of scrambles, but I was real pleased with our defensive line play.”
Former LSU lineman Isaiah Washington is second on the team with 19 tackles, while Auburn commit Daquan Newkirk is third with 18. Defensive back Derrick Beckom leads MGCCC with 23 tackles.
The Warriors (1-2) are off to a slow start this year and enter Thursday’s game fresh off of a 59-40 loss to Pearl River. ECCC has used three different quarterbacks, who have combined to throw for 478 yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions. Eight different Warriors have caught at least two passes.
Mikell Daniels and James Smith III lead the Warriors’ rushing attack with 162 and 152 yards respectively.
“They’ll run the football, run the football, then slip a receiver down the seam on play action,” Huff said. “In every game I’ve looked at, there’s guys running free.”
The Warriors’ roster is bolstered by several former Coast standouts. South Mississippians in Decatur include Harrison Central running back Dwayne Barnett, East Central running back A.J. Davis, Pass Christian linebacker V.J. Swanier, HCHS defensive back Nehemiah Thompson, HCHS linebacker Aaron Rainey, HCHS defensive lineman Michael Boyce and D’Iberville defensive lineman Mike McCoy.
After leading ECCC in rushing a year ago, Barnett is fourth on the team heading into Thursday’s matchup with 85 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
Rainey is among ECCC’s leading tacklers with 18. Swanier has recorded three tackles, with Davis and Nehemiah Thompson both adding one. Boyce has one tackle for loss on the season.
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series against ECCC 51-16-2 and won 13 straight prior to last year’s 42-28 loss.
Who: East Central at Gulf Coast
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: A.L. May Memorial Stadium, Perkinston
Radio: 103.1 FM