ELLISVILLE – The MACCC South Division title will be on the line this week.
Mississippi Gulf Coast (4-0) hosts Jones College (3-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday at A.L. May Stadium in Perkinston.
The winner of the game will host the MACCC championship game on Dec. 5 vs. the North Division champion. Northwest will claim the division title if it is able to play and beat Mississippi Delta this week. Northwest will also have a chance to clinch the North crown by beating Coahoma on Nov. 23.
The Bobcats were scheduled to face Co-Lin last week for Homecoming. However, the Wolves canceled their remaining three games of the season because of COVID-19 issues.
Jones head coach Steve Buckley said all teams are having to adjust as they move forward this season.
“It is what it is,” he said Monday morning. “It was disappointing for the kids and the coaches. I thought we had a good game plan for Co-Lin. The hardest thing is you spend all of that time in game planning and practicing and you don’t get to play. We get it. Safety comes first.”
The Bobcats last played on Oct. 29 when they defeated Pearl River. They were scheduled to play MGCCC on Nov. 5, but that game was postponed originally to Nov. 24 because of COVID-19. Then, Jones was hit with a cancellation last week.
One positive about this week’s game is that the Bobcats and Bulldogs were able to move it up a week instead of playing Thanksgiving week.
Buckley said he and Gulf Coast head coach Jack Wright agreed quickly to move the game to Thursday.
“We didn’t want to wait until the next week to play,” he said. “If there is any good in it, we get to play a week earlier. The kids were disappointed and I had talked to Coach Wright that afternoon and we found out we could play them this week. The kids were excited because we didn’t have to wait two weeks to play another ballgame.”
It will be a typical Gulf Coast team with numerous Division I players. The Bulldogs enter the contest with a 20-game winning streak, the second longest in school history.
“Like I told the kids, they are the state champion, the national champion and they’ve got the longest winning streak in the country,” Buckley said. “We are going to their place and it’s a tough environment. They are a well-coached football team with talent.
“When you have a well-coached team with talent, you’ve got a great challenge. It should be a fun night. They played Friday and played well against Southwest. If you can’t get excited for this kind of game, you don’t need to be playing football.”
This will be Jones’ first game in three weeks. Buckley believes his team will be ready to play.
“You never know until you get to the game whether the layoff is going to hurt you or not,” he said. “I think we’ve got a mature group. I’m not worried about our team being ready to play, as far as execution or being mentally prepared. When you say Gulf Coast and see what they’ve done in the past year, you have to be ready to play.”
With last week’s game being canceled just two days before kickoff, Buckley said it gave the Bobcats an opportunity to concentrate on themselves.
“Last week, we mainly focused on us,” he said. “We’ve continued to correct some things with the younger kids. We are playing a bunch of young kids. Gulf Coast lost a lot of kids off of their team last year, but they start a lot of sophomores. They start nine sophomores on defense. They’ve got guys with experience. This late in the year, the young guys have got to play like sophomores.”
Gulf Coast defeated Southwest (40-3) last Friday. The Bulldogs had shut down its program for two weeks because of COVID-19. They resumed practice on Nov. 10 just three days prior to meeting the Bears.
The Bobcats own wins over East Central (34-5), Southwest (40-27) and Pearl River (37-13) to go along with a loss to Hinds (18-16). MGCCC has beaten Pearl River (42-25), Hinds in overtime (31-24) and East Central (31-3) in addition to its win over Southwest.
A limited number of tickets is available at www.mgcccbulldogs.com/tickets.
Jones has won three of its last four vs. Gulf Coast and leads the series, 46-44-4.
- The Bobcats are averaging 31.8 points per game and are allowing 15.8 points per game.
- Running back Romal Webb has rushed 69 times for 473 yards, an average of 118.3 yards per game and 6.9 yards per carry. He has rushed for six touchdowns.
- Quarterback Quaterius Hawkins has completed 60-of-101 passes for 802 yards and five touchdowns. He has a 142.44 passer rating.
- Wide receiver Markel McLaurin has 19 catches for 320 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Bud Tolbert has 16 catches for 277 yards and one score.
- Linebackers Mike Cockream, DeLawrence Butler and Kenderian Dixon lead the team with 33, 29 and 28 tackles, respectively. Cockream leads the team sacks with 3.0 and tackles for loss with 5.0. Cockream and Butler each have two fumble recoveries.
- Defensive backs Ty Rawls, Hershey McLaurin and Travor Randle have two interceptions each.