Junior Colleges

Defense shines as Gulf Coast wraps up spring season

PERKINSTON - If the spectators at Wednesday's final spring scrimmage are any indication, expectations should be high once again for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football team in 2016.

The Bulldogs wrapped up their 15-session spring season Wednesday at A.L. May Stadium with the sidelines filled with FBS coaches from schools ranging from Auburn, Kentucky and Texas A&M to Minnesota and Iowa State.

The Bulldogs have a long list of players who have already been offered and then more players who should pick up interest once the '16 season commences.

Star among the recruits is defensive end Isaiah Buggs, one of the top junior college players in the country. Along with one-time LSU signee Travonte Valentine at tackle, the two helped control the line of scrimmage as the defense held the Gulf Coast offense to just three scores.

"That's typical," MGCCC coach Chad Huff said of the defense's execution, holding the offense to just three touchdowns. "Going against the same guys every day and they get a feel for the offense. Early in the spring your offense will come out and make some plays and then they start seeing it and playing the play."

One point of interest heading in Wednesday was the play of newcomer Jabe Burgess at quarterback. The former Tulsa QB who prepped in Arkansas threw the game's lone touchdown, a 17 yard score to Lester Wells. The Natchez native caught the pass on the left side and beat the defense down the home sideline for the score.

"He's consistently improved every single day," Huff said of Burgess. "That's what I've seen. From where he was from Day 1 to where he is now, he's a completely different player in our system with what we're asking him to do.

"He has grown a lot and shown signs in spurts of being a guy who can do some good things."

Although Burgess is a D1 quarterback transfer, he's not the de facto starter at Gulf Coast - at least not yet. While A.J. Eardley signed with UAB, the Bulldogs also return former St. Stanislaus Rockachaw Tyler Allen as well as Resurrection's Larry Sisson. All three quarterbacks rotated during the spring and could continue to do so heading into the season.

"Tyler and Larry have battled and we'll see how this thing finishes off. We'll go back and grade the film and tape," Huff said. "Right now we're going to continue evaluating and try to make the best decision."

New addition: The Bulldogs added former Arkansas-Monticello graduate assistant Drew Hall as the new receivers coach this spring. Hall replaces Jonathan Johnson who was recently hired by Stetson.

Related stories from Biloxi Sun Herald