PERKINSTON, Miss. (WLOX) - The No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs had a slow start before taking down the Holmes Bulldogs 36-7 Thu., Sept. 5.
Despite the sluggish opening quarter, the best team in junior-college football ended up dominating its opponent for the second straight week. Gulf Coast, which maintained the NJCAA's top spot following a 63-14 win over Coahoma, won despite injuries to three key players and an offensive attack that racked up lots of yards but struggled to find the end zone.
"I'm proud of the way our unit stayed resilient throughout a tough game," said Gulf Coast head coach Steve Campbell. "We found a way to win."
Gulf Coast scored the only points of the first quarter when freshman Tristan Reynolds converted a 21-yard field goal. That was set up after an interception by former Stone Tomcat Darius Jones.
In the second quarter, NJCAA All-American wide receiver Dhaquille Williams caught a screen pass on one sideline, eluded the Holmes defense and streaked to the other sideline before scampering 55 yards to set up his team's next score -- a 3-yard touchdown run by former D'Iberville Warrior Justin Brister.
The Bulldogs went to their bag of tricks later in the first half. After lining up for a field goal attempt, holder Kevin Phillips took the snap and threw the ball to Williams, who was left all alone for a 20-yard score. Gulf Coast took a 17-0 lead into halftime.
That was one of Williams' five receptions for 92 yards, but he left the game in the second half with a back injury.
Gulf Coast's defense continued its fury against Holmes (0-2) in the second half. Linebacker Elijah Parker sacked Holmes quarterback Payne Horan, who then fumbled near his own goal line. Tim Oster recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
A minute later, linebacker Trey Wafford picked up his second fumble recovery for a touchdown in as many weeks, dashing 33 yards to put the Perk dogs up 30-0.
The Bulldogs defense forced four turnovers and tallied five sacks despite losing starters Josh Keys and Derrick Moncrief to injuries.
Freshman running back Rod Williams capped the game with a 65-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter -- his second TD run of 65 yards or more this season.
Antwon Wells led the Bulldogs rushing attack with 20 carries for 101 yards while freshman quarterback Terrian Page was 12-of-21 for 168 yards passing in his first collegiate start.
"There are plenty of things we need to address if we want to continue to be successful," Campbell said. "But there are also some good things to take out of this."