No. 5 MGCCC falls 45-28 at No. 2 East Mississippi

November 4, 2013

Second half slump dooms Bulldogs

MGCCC’S Antwon Wells (#34) scores on a 3-yard TD run against East Miss. Nov. 2.

MGCCC’S Antwon Wells (#34) scores on a 3-yard TD run against East Mississippi on Nov. 2.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College had a 14-7 halftime lead on East Mississippi and possession of the football at the beginning of the second half.

Four turnovers and 24 unanswered points later, the Bulldogs were down 31-14 en route to a 45-28 loss to the undefeated Lions in the MACJC semifinals.

The defeat ended the season for the No. 5 Bulldogs with an 8-2 record and marks the first time since 2006 that Gulf Coast won’t play in the MACJC Championship Game. It’s also the first time since 2006 that the Bulldogs haven’t won at least nine games in a season.

“The second half told the story,” said Steve Campbell, Gulf Coast head coach, who’s now 10-5 all-time in the post-season with the Bulldogs. “Our guys fought hard until the very end, but you can’t turn the ball over on the road and expect to win, especially against a team as good as East Mississippi.”

It’s also the team’s fourth straight loss to the Lions dating back to 2009.

Gulf Coast played solid defense and got touchdown runs from Antwon Wells and freshman James Booth to take a touchdown lead into the locker room at the break.

However, Gulf Coast began the second half with a 3-and-out on its first possession and saw #2 East Mississippi tie the game at 14 on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Dontreal Pruitt to Justin Mack midway through the third quarter. A Bulldog interception, one of three by quarterback Colton Kane, led to a Lion field goal and a 17-14 lead heading into the final 15 minutes.

The Bulldogs recovered a muffed punt deep in Lion territory early in the final period, but an interception in the East Mississippi end zone ended the threat. Pruitt later scored on a 9-yard TD scamper and then hit Antoine Adkins on a 33-yard scoring play to finish the 24-point second-half explosion. The Bulldogs answered with a 19-yard TD pass from Kane to Dhaquille Williams making it 31-12 with 7:02 left to play, but the Lions countered two minutes later on a 41-yard TD strike from Pruitt to C.J. Bates to up the lead to 38-21. The two teams then traded scores near the end of the game as Kane hit Ishmel Morrow with a five-yard TD pass and Lion running back Preston Baker from two yards out to make the final count 45-28.

Despite the loss, Gulf Coast made its record-breaking seventh straight trip to the MACJC playoffs in 2013 and has been ranked in the NJCAA Top 25 Poll for an incredible 112 straight weeks dating back to 2005.

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