BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On a cold windy afternoon before a crowd of about 5,000 fans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs jumped out to a 20 to nothing lead.
Quarterback Clayton Moore completed 26 of 47 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns on the day.
Coach Steve Campbell's Bulldogs would head into the locker room at halftime leading 35 to 23.
4th quarter 6 foot 5, 330 pound defensive end John Jenkins was inserted into the offensive backfield. He would carry pigskin with just over 8 minutes remaining and bulled over Grand Rapid defenders and into the end zone giving Gulf Coast a 55-46 lead.
The Raiders battled back. Quarterback James Stallons connected on 26 of 38 passes,465 yards and seven touchdowns. Dominique Douglass hauled in 10 passes and four TDs. His last one trimmed the Bulldogs lead 56-53 with 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders would get the ball back and Lamar Johnson, a sophomore from Pascagoula, would come up with a huge interception putting the clamps on Grand Rapids
Johnson said, "I'm relieved because I messed up on the two plays they scored before and the third time I really just played my technique and it paid off."
Gulf Coast would score a defensive touchdown on the last play of the game propelling the Bulldogs past Grand Rapids 62 to 53. The gusting wind was a factor in the game.
"Whoever had the wind, that's where the points were scored," Campbell stated. "They had cut a big lead down to three points and then we were able to answer with some points against the wind and that was huge."
Quarterback Clayton Moore was named Gulf Coast Mississippi Bowl Offensive MVP. He said, "I thought as a team we played really well. The defense gave up a few big plays but they came through when we needed them."
Gulf Coast defensive linebacker Chris Wright was named Gulf Coast Mississippi Bowl Defensive MVP.
"It's a blessing," Wright stated. As far as his future? "I'm still undecided but I mean where ever I go I plan to contribute and definitely have a lot of football ahead of me, God willing."