PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast will have a lot of things to figure out when it kicks off the season at Moorhead on Thursday.
The No. 12 Bulldogs head up to play Mississippi Delta after the usual demanding summer and fall camps. Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Jim Randall Stadium will officially launch them into the regular season, and hopefully bring clarity to some tough position battles.
"We have a lot of kids who deserve to play. They've been here for six weeks," Gulf Coast coach Jack Wright said. "I think that's a better way to look at it. We're going to put a lot of people out there because of the hard work and sacrifice they've put in. They deserve to play football Thursday night."
He and his staff have positions where they know who the starters are going to be going through. They also have some spots they're going to get a better handle on thanks to some game film.
The opening game of the MACJC season always provides challenges. Rosters sometimes aren't finalized until the last minute, so getting breakdowns on the opponents can be challenging. The Trojans return leading rusher Patrick Johnson, who ran for 503 yards and six touchdowns. Tackles John Wrister and Byron Clayton are 6-foot-8 and nearly 400 pounds, according to MDCC coach Jeff Tatum.
"I know they're going to have a really big offensive line," Wright said. "I've seen a preview or two on a couple of those guys. Some of the better guys on the offensive line are back. I thought they did a good job running the ball on us at times last year."
Wright wants his offense to create more explosive plays this year, and he wants his defense to create havoc in backfields. One of the players who will be counted on helping with the latter will be defensive end Jamie Sheriff (So., Terry/Terry).
He had 20 tackles, six assists, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks as a freshman. Sheriff came to Perkinston to try out, then went on to not only make the team but start every game. He bulked up in the offseason, and thanks to his freshman game film and attending summer camps, now has great options beyond this season.
"Jamie exemplifies what we want our program to be about," Wright said. "He came here as a guy who didn't know how it was going to work out for him at first. In every sense of the word, he's earned everything that he's got: playing time, scholarship money, Division I offers now, and an opportunity to better his life through playing football at Gulf Coast."
WHO: MGCCC at Mississippi Delta
WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Jim Randall Stadium, Moorhead
WATCH: http://mgcccbulldogs.com/stream (MDCC broadcast)
LISTEN: SuperTalk Mississippi 103.1 FM or http://mgcccbulldogs.com/audio
Series record: Gulf Coast leads 25-16-0
First Meeting: 1929
Last Meeting: Aug. 30, 2018, MGCCC 52, Delta 0
Notes: Gulf Coast has won five straight in the series, dating back to 2010 … The Bulldogs are averaging 45.8 points in the streak, allowing 6.8 points … Gulf Coast has registered 11 shutouts in its 25 victories … Gulf Coast will be trying to tie its longest winning streak in the series, having won six straight against then Sunflower Junior College from 1947-59 … MDCC's longest win streak in the series is also six (1993-98).
|10/26/29||MGCCC 7, Sunflower Junior College 0|
|10/25/30||Sunflower Junior College 33, MGCCC 7|
|9/20/46||MGCCC 6, Sunflower Junior College 0|
|11/25/47||MGCCC 26, Sunflower Junior College 14|
|11/19/48||MGCCC 27, Sunflower Junior College 6|
|11/18/49||MGCCC 20, Sunflower Junior College 0|
|11/8/58||MGCCC 30, Sunflower Junior College 12|
|11/5/59||MGCCC 36, Sunflower Junior College 14|
|9/10/60||Mississippi Delta Junior College 16, MGCCC 7|
|9/9/61||Mississippi Delta Junior College 14, MGCCC 13|
|9/12/64||MGCCC 13, Mississippi Delta Junior College 0|
|9/11/65||MGCCC 14, Mississippi Delta Junior College 0|
|10/8/66||MGCCC 40, Mississippi Delta Junior College 13|
|10/7/67||MGCCC 22, Mississippi Delta Junior College 14|
|10/26/68||MGCCC 14, Mississippi Delta Junior College 0|
|10/25/69||Mississippi Delta Junior College 37, MGCCC 21|
|11/21/70||MGCCC 24, Mississippi Delta Junior College 7|
|11/20/71||MGCCC 26, Mississippi Delta Junior College 14|
|10/5/74||Mississippi Delta Junior College 13, MGCCC 10|
|10/4/75||MGCCC 47, Mississippi Delta Junior College 0|
|9/23/78||MGCCC 24, Mississippi Delta Junior College 10|
|9/22/79||Mississippi Delta Junior College 10, MGCCC 0|
|10/4/80||MGCCC 35, Mississippi Delta Junior College 6|
|10/3/81||Mississippi Delta Junior College 25, MGCCC 21|
|8/30/84||MGCCC 27, Mississippi Delta Junior College 0|
|9/26/92||MGCCC 26, Mississippi Delta Community College 13|
|9/23/93||Mississippi Delta Community College 49, MGCCC 7|
|9/29/94||Mississippi Delta Community College 31, MGCCC 23|
|9/28/95||Mississippi Delta Community College 19, MGCCC 7|
|9/19/96||Mississippi Delta Community College 28, MGCCC 21|
|9/18/97||Mississippi Delta Community College 20, MGCCC 14|
|9/3/98||Mississippi Delta Community College 35, MGCCC 7|
|9/2/99||MGCCC 53, Mississippi Delta Community College 47|
|10/12/02||Mississippi Delta Community College 30, MGCCC 25|
|10/9/03||Mississippi Delta Community College 42, MGCCC 35|
|9/2/04||Mississippi Delta Community College 28, MGCCC 0|
|9/9/10||MGCCC 52, Mississippi Delta Community College 0|
|9/8/11||MGCCC 31, Mississippi Delta Community College 14|
|10/6/16||MGCCC 42, Mississippi Delta Community College 0|
|10/5/17||MGCCC 52, Mississippi Delta Community College 20|
|8/30/18||MGCCC 52, Mississippi Delta Community College 0|
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.