MOORHEAD — No. 12 Mississippi Gulf Coast shook the rust off early and exploded to a 49-9 victory at Mississippi Delton Thursday, part of a crazy MACJC opening night.
The Bulldogs ran for 293 yards, with three backs over 70 yards, and threw for another 225 yards on 20-of-27 attempts.
"We really played well as a team in a lot of areas," Gulf Coast coach Jack Wright said. "We played good team defense. We needed both the running game and the passing game at times to move the football, so I'm pleased with the overall effort. I think a lot of kids contributed to the overall effort."
Gulf Coast won on a night that saw No. 1 East Mississippi and No. 4 Jones lose. Hinds upset East Mississippi 24-16, and Coahoma beat Jones 18-10. The Bulldogs play CCC next week in Perkinston. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at A.L. May Memorial Stadium.
MGCCC's defense held the Trojans to 167 total yards, including just 58 rushing. The Bulldogs forced three turnovers.
"Going against them every day, I see an active group," Wright said. "That doesn't surprise me. They were in the backfield, not cooperating with what the offense wanted to do, creating havoc, and that's gonna lead to more turnovers."
Austin Bolton (So., Poplarville/Poplarville) sprinted 43 yards for the opening score midway through the first quarter. It was his first of three touchdowns on the night. He finished with 107 yards.
"I've gotta give it to my O-line," he said. "They did great pulling. Those boys up front have been working hard all fall camp long. I've gotta give it to them. That's the reason the four running backs were able to break it tonight."
Deondre House (Fr., Senatobia/Senatobia) ran for 119 yards, including a 57-yard fourth-quarter touchdown. He averaged 17.0 yards per carry, and Omni Wells (So., Moss Point/Moss Point) finished 74 yards.
"Anytime you have three different running backs that had a good performance, that tells you something," Wright said. "It tells you the offensive line did a good job for whoever was running the football. Whatever they were doing defensively, we were able to pick up."
Chance Lovertich (So., Jackson Prep/Brandon) completed 20-of-25 passes for 225 yards. His third pass of the game was intercepted, but he threw touchdown passes to Travis Isaac (Fr., Vanguard/Ocala Fla.), Marquise Bridges (So., Petal/Brookhaven) and Jalen Bracey (Fr., Murrah/Jackson).
Eight different Bulldogs caught passes, with Perry Keyes (So., Taylorsville/Taylorsville) grabbing five to lead the team.
After the opening drive ended on the pick, Gulf Coast scored touchdowns on the next four possessions to lead 28-3 at halftime.
All three Trojans turnovers came in the second half.
"Coach talked to us at halftime and got us fired up and got us going," said Malik Jones, who had two of them.
The Bulldogs headed back down Highway 49 after the game in a jovial mood. They know there's even more work to do now.
"Nobody respects this league more than me," Wright said. "I can promise you that. Every time you strap your helmet on, you better be ready to play a tough game. I have heard through sources that some teams are gonna be better this year, so these scores don't surprise me. We'll celebrate them for four or five hours on the ride home, then get ready for Coahoma."
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.