Gulf Coast scored on four of its first five possessions, and the Bulldogs defense held East Central in check on the way to a 27-14 win Thursday at A.L. May Memorial Stadium.
“It was a good team win,” Gulf Coast coach Jack Wright said. “We needed all those points that we were able to punch in there quick in the first half. I had a feeling against East Central, when you go up on a good team like that, you know they’re going to make a late run.”
East Central put together drives of 19, 14 and 10 plays in the second half, but the Gulf Coast defense was up to the challenge in the red zone. All three ended inside the 20, but the Warriors (3-4, 2-2) only managed one touchdown.
The final two drives had 11 goal-to-go plays, one of which ended in a 2-yard touchdown pass.
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Bulldogs defensive coordinator Lytrel Pollard has been utilizing his entire complement of players throughout the season, and the depth paid off.
“We’ve been getting great effort out of our defense,” Wright said. “I really like the way that side of the ball plays. We’ve got a lot of really good athletes on that side of the ball.”
Denzel Carter (Fr., Lakewood/St. Petersburg, Fla) and Terrion Avery (So., Stone/Wiggins) scored twice each for Gulf Coast (5-2, 2-2 MACJC South). Chance Lovertich (Fr., Jackson Prep/Brandon) completed 12-of-18 passes for 163 yards and the two touchdowns in the air.
Carter’s two touchdowns came on the first two possessions, with Lovertich completing passes of 5 and 3 yards.
“They really weren’t watching me at all,” Carter said. “We knew the play action would get ’em. I just had to execute and run my routes. I knew he’d find me.”
The Bulldogs get a little extra time off because next week’s game is Saturday in Poplarville. Gulf Coast and archrival Pearl River play for the 96th time, with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m.