PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast kicks off the 2017 season Thursday at home facing an opponent it's very familiar with.
It will be the fourth time playing Itawamba in the last 13 games, having played the Indians to close out the 2015 regular season and in the first round of the playoffs that year, then the opener last season.
"They were a really good football team last year," Bulldogs coach Chad Huff said. "They beat us first game of the year. They've got a lot of those same guys back. I tell our guys every week to prepare like it's the biggest game of your life."
ICC won 23-12 in Fulton last season, breaking a streak of nine straight MGCCC wins. The Bulldogs lead the series 34-16-1. The game, which kicks off at 7 p.m., will be streamed online at http://livestream.com/BulldogLIVE and can be heard on SuperTalk 103.1 FM.
Itawamba quarterback Dan Ellington returns. Splitting time in the opener last year, he completed 14-of-19 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown. He also ran 13 times for 109 yards and another score.
"If you've good quarterback, you've got a chance in every football game," Huff said. "He's a really good player. He can run and throw and was very effective against us last year."
Wide receiver Terry Williams caught eight passes for 65 yards in that game, and he'll be back.
The defensive line is anchored by former Mississippi State signee Duke Collins, who weighs in at 330. Travis Sailo up front and Jarvis Hayes at linebacker are two key returnees.
Junior college football teams typically see at least 50 percent turnover year to year, so knowing what's in store Week 1 can be a mystery. Recent history, and the fact that Huff and ICC head coach Sean Cannon were college roommates while playing at Delta State gives them more insight against a MACJC North squad than they might normally have.
"It's a little different because we've played them so frequently the last couple of years," Huff said. "Coach Cannon has been running that defense the last several years. You don't ever know for certain, but you just have to control what you can control and that's your football team."
WHO: Itawamba at MGCCC
WHAT: Regular-season opener
WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 31, 7 p.m.
WHERE: A.L. May Memorial Stadium, Perkinston
ONLINE: Watch at https://livestream.com/BulldogLIVE
LISTEN: SuperTalk Mississippi 103.1 FM
Series record: Gulf Coast leads 34-16-1
First Meeting: 1952
Last Meeting: Sept 1, 2016, Itawamba 23, MGCCC 12
Notes: MGCCC had won nine straight before last meeting … MGCCC will be playing ICC for the fourth time in the last 13 games
|11/7/52||MGCCC 26, Itawamba Junior College 13|
|11/5/53||MGCCC 32, Itawamba Junior College 13|
|11/11/54||MGCCC 12, Itawamba Junior College 6|
|11/10/55||MGCCC 25, Itawamba Junior College 0|
|11/10/56||Itawamba Junior College 20, MGCCC 19|
|11/7/57||MGCCC 20, Itawamba Junior College 20|
|10/18/58||MGCCC 22, Itawamba Junior College 12|
|10/13/62||MGCCC 27, Itawamba Junior College 6|
|10/12/63||Itawamba Junior College 26, MGCCC 21|
|10/24/64||MGCCC 27, Itawamba Junior College 8|
|10/23/65||MGCCC 21, Itawamba Junior College 14|
|10/22/66||Itawamba Junior College 15, MGCCC 14|
|10/21/67||MGCCC 59, Itawamba Junior College 34|
|9/21/68||MGCCC 28, Itawamba Junior College 0|
|9/20/69||MGCCC 14, Itawamba Junior College 0|
|9/10/70||MGCCC 33, Itawamba Junior College 13|
|9/4/71||MGCCC 28, Itawamba Junior College 21|
|11/11/72||MGCCC 14, Itawamba Junior College 13|
|11/10/73||MGCCC 62, Itawamba Junior College 7|
|11/22/74||MGCCC 10, Itawamba Junior College 6|
|11/21/75||Itawamba Junior College 21, MGCCC 12|
|11/13/76||Itawamba Junior College 18, MGCCC 17|
|11/5/77||MGCCC 17, Itawamba Junior College 6|
|9/2/78||MGCCC 19, Itawamba Junior College 7|
|9/1/79||MGCCC 9, Itawamba Junior College 7|
|11/17/79||MGCCC 7, Itawamba Junior College 0|
|11/13/82||MGCCC 48, Itawamba Junior College 0|
|10/20/84||MGCCC 30, Itawamba Junior College 21|
|10/17/85||Itawamba Junior College 14, MGCCC 10|
|9/11/86||MGCCC 9, Itawamba Junior College 7|
|11/8/86||MGCCC 20, Itawamba Junior College 16|
|9/19/87||Itawamba Community College 28, MGCCC 17|
|10/15/88||MGCCC 48, Itawamba Community College 9|
|10/14/89||Itawamba Community College 15, MGCCC 14|
|11/3/90||Itawamba Community College 38, MGCCC 6|
|11/2/91||Itawamba Community College 19, MGCCC 0|
|9/3/92||Itawamba Community College 34, MGCCC 20|
|9/2/93||Itawamba Community College 28, MGCCC 27|
|9/5/96||Itawamba Community College 45, MGCCC 7|
|9/4/97||Itawamba Community College 34, MGCCC 12|
|11/2/00||Itawamba Community College 23, MGCCC 20|
|11/1/01||MGCCC 38, Itawamba Community College 17|
|9/5/02||MGCCC 21, Itawamba Community College 14|
|9/4/03||MGCCC 6, Itawamba Community College 3|
|11/12/05||MGCCC 69, Itawamba Community College 45|
|9/6/08||MGCCC 36, Itawamba Community College 0|
|9/3/09||MGCCC 63, Itawamba Community College 9|
|10/25/14||MGCCC 49, Itawamba Community College 3|
|10/24/15||MGCCC 38, Itawamba Community College 7|
|10/31/15||MGCCC 49, Itawamba Community College 17|
|9/1/16||Itawamba Community College 23, MGCCC 12|
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCAthletics on Twitter and BulldogLIVE on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.