PHOTO: MATT BUSH/JUCO Weekly
ELLISVILLE — Mississippi Gulf Coast and Jones came into Thursday night's showdown ranked in the top 15, and the slugfest that took place at Bobcat Stadium was evidence.
The No. 12 Bulldogs lost 16-13 to the No. 13 Bobcats on a hot muggy night.
"I told our team and our coaches that this one was going to be decided late in the fourth quarter," Gulf Coast coach Jack Wright said. "It's the first real test we had this year, and I was right. It's a classic MACJC South Division game, and we came out on the short end tonight."
Gulf Coast (3-1 overall, 0-1 South) held Jones (3-1, 2-0) to 268 total yards, and the defense had five sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception. Chandler Phillips (So., Hattiesburg/Hattiesburg) had the interception, and Dayreke Snow (So., Newton/Newton) recovered a fumble.
But the Bulldogs' offense couldn't get on track, generating only 117 of their 309 yards through the air. The offense also saw its first drive of the game go 78 yards and fail on a fumbled snap at the Jones 1-yard line.
"I'm the head coach and offensive coordinator, and we could not create enough offense," Wright said. "That's the bottom line. That's 110 percent on me, and I feel like I failed the whole group tonight. We'll just work harder next week to put a better plan in place."
Terrion Avery (So., Stone/Wiggins) ran for 120 yards on 16 carries, including a 14-yard touchdown run to give Gulf Coast a 6-0 lead. There were problems on the extra point, however, and Jones was able to run the ball back to make it a 6-2 game with 5:26 to play in the first half.
Jones took a 9-6 lead less than five minutes into second half, but Gulf Coast responded in two plays. Avery ran 35 yards, setting up a 40-yard dash by Lowell Narcisse which put the Bulldogs up 13-9.
Jones took the final lead with 10:48 to play, and the Bulldogs couldn't match it on two final attempts.
"There's a lot of positives," Wright said. "The defense played really well, and they've played really well all year. That's very encouraging. They've been very consistent. Going into games now, we know what we've got, and it's going to allow us to lean on them a little bit. WE did tonight."
Gulf Coast returns home to A.L. May Memorial Stadium next week. Kickoff Thursday will be at 7 p.m.
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