National Champion MGCCC ready to run it back
This year, the MACCC is the only league in the entire nation playing junior college football in the fall which means defending national champion Mississippi Gulf Coast won’t get the chance to defend its national championship against the rest of the nation.
But that doesn’t mean the Bulldogs still don’t have a big red target on their backs now almost 10 months removed from winning their fifth national title in program history.
Free Safety Isaac Gowdy said, “I go home and I go get a haircut and people are like oh my God, can I see the ring? Can I see the ring? It’s just a blessing really. It’s a blessing to even be able to just show it off and just wear it cause that’s with me for a lifetime, so it’s a blessing.”
Life is different than it was at this same time last year for the defending NJCAA national champions, but now just hours away from kicking off the 2020 season, the Bulldogs know they can’t play football with the past. Head Coach Jack Wright said, “Last year’s team was last year’s team. We all have great memories. But at some point, we’ve got to stop patting ourselves on the back and get ready to play college football.”
Right Guard Quincy McGee “We try not to too much think about last year, but we do reflect on it some. I mean last year we were a band of brothers and this year we are the same thing and I don’t think nobody can beat a band of brothers.”
Last year’s perfect mark of 12-0 certainly backs up that theory but simply due to the nature of JUCO football, half that team is now gone. Coach Wright said, “The memories were good for sure. There were a lot of good football players that were here. They came together as a team. They bonded, and it’s now fun to watch them play – most of them on Saturday’s.”
More than 20 players now suiting up at the four year college level, but not to worry as the Bulldogs already feature 10 division I FBS commitments in the class of 2021. McGee said, “Yeah, we are pretty stacked and I looked at it last night. When I was looking at it I was like, man, some people are going to have to feel it this year cause we have a whole bunch of talent on the team.”
Gowdy said, “I look at it every day. We’ve got a bunch of D-I guys on our team, and we’ve got a lot of underlooked guys on our team. So it’s kind of like big time players that are going to make big time plays.”
In the absence of now South Alabama Quarterback Chance Lovertich, the Bulldogs will be led by two freshmen under center, those being Philip Short and DeCarlos Nicholson.
They get to hand the ball off to Deondre House, who led the country with more than seven yards per carry as a freshman.
And blocking for all of them is an offensive line that might just be the biggest in the nation with an average height of about 6’6” and an average weight of about 370 pounds. Coach Wright said, “This will be the biggest position group I’ve ever coached in 19 years, the offensive line we have this year. And really, I can’t even remember who No. 2 is after these guys.”
McGee said, “We’re pretty big, tall and athletic. I feel like we’ll be the best offensive line in JUCO this year.”
The Bulldogs are used to being the best at a lot of things, but now everybody else wants what they have. Gowdy said, “We know that we’ve got a big target on our back and everybody wants to knock us off and everybody wants to beat us, the national champs, but we’re just going to play every game the same.”
McGee said, “It’s no pressure, but I know we have a target on our back. I know Pearl River is going to be amped up to come out and play us.”
Rival PRCC is one of just six schools with a chance to knock off the Bulldogs during the regular season as a part of this year’s COVID-shortened slate of MACCC South Games. None of which Gulf Coast is planning to take for granted. McGee said, “Well, we only have six games, and for those six games we’re going to ball out and give our fans a show.”
Gowdy said, “You’ve got to make your opportunities count. I mean you’re only promised six games, so just every opportunity you get, you’ve got to make it count.”
Coach Wright said, “I think it’s fair to say that at Gulf Coast we expect to win, and whether we want to set a national championship as our goal every year, obviously, that is something every team shoots for. But we expect to win here. We have high standards for ourselves when it comes to being competitive on the field, and we want to hold ourselves to that.”
For the Bulldogs, another perfect season would result in a 17th state championship trophy. MGCCC and PRCC will kick things off at 7 p.m. tomorrow from Poplarville.