Junior Colleges

No. 8 Gulf Coast downplaying last week's dominance in ICC rematch

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Gulf Coast's Cam Myers and Jay Jay Smith combine for a tackle during last week's homecoming game against Itawamba. The two teams will clash at 2 p.m. Saturday to open the MACJC playoffs.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Gulf Coast's Cam Myers and Jay Jay Smith combine for a tackle during last week's homecoming game against Itawamba. The two teams will clash at 2 p.m. Saturday to open the MACJC playoffs.

No. 8 Gulf Coast will undoubtedly have a sense of déjà vu when it hits the field at A.L. May Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Exactly one week after dismantling Itawamba 38-7 on homecoming, the Bulldogs will have to turn around and face the Indians again, this time to open the MACJC playoffs.

Dominate wins are normally good to remember. Gulf Coast coach Chad Huff, however, wants his Bulldogs (7-2) to have a short memory and forget about the 31-point win.

"We've been trying to instill in the kids' heads to expect every individual battle you had on the field to be totally different," he said. "These kids have gone back and have worked to correct their mistakes. They're going to be a lot more comfortable, having just made the trip, and be a lot more focused.

"They're going to try and make a statement and we're definitely encouraging our kids to block out last week and expect them to bring more than what they brought."

Huff has been using Gulf Coast's 2012 experience as a teaching moment for his current Bulldogs.

Gulf Coast whipped Copiah-Lincoln to the tune of 54-21 on Oct. 20. Three weeks later, the two teams met again in the state championship game. Co-Lin ended up winning 41-37.

"We turned around and played the same football team and they beat us," he said. "We've got to be prepared and understand that we have to control what we can control and that's play our style of football."

Following the 31-point loss, ICC coach Sean Cannon, who actually roomed with Huff when they played football together at Delta State, challenged his players to step up for Round 2.

While the score was lopsided, the game was much closer -- especially in the first half. Two ill-timed interceptions, one in the end zone and one with the Indians (6-3) driving, torpedoed ICC's early scoring opportunities. Gulf Coast ended up out-gaining ICC just 415 yards to 397.

"What I told them was regardless what happened last week, last week was last week," Cannon said. "You definitely don't want what happened to have happened, but you go back and say if you take out the three turnovers we had, take out the blocked field goal and take out the three big plays we gave up (and it's a different game). There were six or seven plays that determined that ballgame.

"So maybe we got all of that out of our system."

Cannon tried to hammer home his players are fortunate to have a chance at redemption.

"I told them, us, Gulf Coast, East Central and Northwest are all 0-0 (now). You have a week guaranteed and possibly two to try and win a championship. Ten other teams have put their stuff up, turned in their equipment and are just lifting weights. You're one of the lucky ones still with a chance to play.

"You just can't beat yourself. Make them beat us, but don't beat yourself."

Statistically speaking

In the regular season finale, T'Rod Daniels led Gulf Coast with 68 yards rushing. Former Vancleave standout Walter Williams had 60 of the team's 215 yards on the ground.

Former Middle Tennessee State quarterback A.J. Erdely was efficient, completing 14 of 21 passes for 192 yards and three scores.

Southern Miss commit and ICC quarterback Kwadra Griggs completed 29 of 45 passes for 233 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for 25 yards on six carries.

Time change

The first-round game was originally scheduled for 2 p.m. but has been pushed up to noon due to weather concerns.

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