PERKINSTON — A super talented group of players will hit the field at the MGCCC Soccer Complex for the last time Friday when No. 20 Mississippi Gulf Coast men's team entertains Holmes.
Eleven sophomores will be playing at home for the last time, a tune-up game for next week's MACJC Championship which will be played at Holmes. The game starts at 6 p.m.
"They're very talented, very good and very successful in state and out," Gulf Coast coach Chris Handy said. "I think they've kind of put us on the map nationally, which is an opportunity to build on the year before. Every year, every class has been able to do better than the year before, which is the way you want to build a program. That's culminated with this year."
The Bulldogs (11-2) went through the MACJC South undefeated for the second straight year, extending the win streak to 22. Holmes (3-8-1) did not qualify for the state playoffs.
Gulf Coast has outscored MACJC opponents 41-6 this year. The Bulldogs' only losses this year have come to No. 4 Tyler, the two-time defending national champions, and No. 16 Georgia Military.
The sophomore who've played two years at Perk include Jonathan Page (So, Gulfport/West Harrison), Gage Switzer (So, Gulfport/Gulfport), Jordan Hall (So, Manchester, England/Royton and Crompton), Windham Whatley (So, Florence/Florence), Caleb Counselman (So, Pass Christian/Pass Christian), Austin Miller (So, Bay St. Louis/St. Stanislaus), Case Sloan (So, Wiggins/Stone) and Mathew Edwards (So, Pass Christian/Pass Christian). Sophomore transfers are Owen Betz (So, Pass Christian/St. Stanislaus), Jeff Bruni Jr. (So, Gulfport/Gulfport) and Misael Jaimes (So, Olive Branch/Olive Branch).
"Off the field, they've been golden," Handy said. "They've worked hard every single day. They've made my job very easy, and I'm very appreciative of all those guys and all they've done."
Handy, who is in his sixth year as coach, also has former Bulldog players coming in for a reunion. They'll be recognized at the game, too.
"They'll be able to see where this program has gone, and it has a lot to do with the work they put in early on when instead of going to Tyler and losing 2-1 (like this year), we lost 5-0," he said. "Without playing those games, and those guys taking those lumps, we're not where we are today."
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