The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football team rode some big plays by quarterback Chance Lovertich, a suffocating defense, and a three-headed running attack in their 30-7 dominating win over Pearl River on homecoming day in Poplarville on Saturday.
Gulf Coast held a 20-0 lead with 14:49 showing on the second quarter clock and the defense had only surrendered a single first down to that point.
“One theme that I’ve been very pleased with all season is that we have started fast in every game,” Gulf Coast coach Jack Wright said. “We’ve come out and put some touchdowns, some first downs and some points on the board in the first quarter. So I’m very pleased with that.
“Chance played well very early in the game; he made some plays that kept the chains moving. They changed things up a little on us defensively. If it wasn’t for those big plays, we would have probably struggled and it would have made the game a lot closer than it was.”
Lovertich converted a fourth-and-11 on the Bulldogs’ first possession, completing a 35-yard pass play to Marquise Bridges at the Pearl River 1 yard line. Terrion Avery carried it in for the score.
The Bulldogs’ defense gave up a single first down to Pearl River in the first quarter over three possessions and that first down came on the Wildcats’ second possession. Three plays after giving up the first down, the Bulldogs sacked Tavis Williams for a 6-yard loss, forcing a Wildcats’ punt.
“What you saw tonight is what’s been going on all year,” said Wright of his defense. “It’s been really tough to move consistently on that group. Tonight was no different. I am really pleased with their effort. I really like this group. I have said all year. We’ve got a bunch of good athletes who deserve a chance somewhere else after Gulf Coast.”
On the Bulldogs’ second possession, Lovertich converted a third-and-11 with a 40-yard pass to Mystikal McGhee at the Pearl River 8 yard line. He followed that with a screen pass to Omni Wells for the score.
On their third possession, Lovertich converted a third-and-15 with a 35-yard pass to Bridges at the Pearl River 8 yard line. He capped the drive with two 4-yard pass plays to Sedevyn Gray, the second for the score early in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs put together a 50-yard drive in the last few minutes of the first half, moving the ball to the Pearl River 16 yard line, but Lovertich was intercepted with just over a minute remaining in the half.
Pearl River got on the board early in the third quarter following a Sirvares Snow interception and 60-yard return of a tipped pass thrown by Lowell Narcisse. Two plays later, Jesse Pernell punched it in the end zone and PRCC trailed 20-7.
Pearl River would threaten again with their best drive of the night as Williams completed passes of 38, 12 and 30 yards to the Bulldogs’ 5 yard line. But the Bulldogs’ defense denied the Wildcats, forcing a sack on second down and two incomplete passes after that. The Wildcats’ field goal attempt missed left and as the third quarter came to an end, time was running out for the Wildcats.
The Bulldogs mounted a 16-play time consuming drive to open the fourth quarter, which ended in a Mason Hunt 31-yard field goal to extend their lead to 23-7 with just under 6 minutes remaining.
R’Tarriun Johnson intercepted Williams’ on the Wildats’ ensuing possession at the Pearl River 7 yard line. The Bulldogs closed out the game’s scoring with a 3-yard Austin Bolton carry for the score.
Avery led the Bulldogs rushing with 78 yards and a touchdown, followed by Bolton with 54 yards.
Ron Thompson rushed for 81 on 16 carries for PRCC.
The Wildcats are 6-2 on the season and need to get a win next week against Hinds Count to keep their hopes alive for a playoff. Pearl River (1-7) travels to Delta Community College next Saturday.