PERKINSTON — No. 1 Mississippi Gulf Coast had 10 players named to the All-MACJC South teams, and Jack Wright won the division's Coach of the Year award.
Two Bulldogs earned South Division MVP honors. Quarterback Chance Lovertich (So., Jackson Prep/Brandon) was named the Most Valuable Offensive Back, and Jackie Matthews (So., Pinson Valley/Pinson Ala.) was named Most Valuable Defensive Back.
Lovertich helped guide the Bulldogs to an undefeated MACJC championship season and a berth in the NJCAA Football Championship next month. He completed 226 of 341 passes (66.3 percent) for 2,676 yards, throwing 24 touchdowns against seven interceptions.
"It's a fairy-tale season," Wright said. "We wouldn't' be here without him. I would not trade Chance Lovertich for one quarterback anywhere, at any level. Division I or otherwise."
Matthews has 49 total tackles and led the MACJC with five interceptions. He returned one for a touchdown and also had 2.5 tackles for loss.
"Jackie not only meets all the measurables — height, weight, speed, strength — but he also has the grit and determination of a great football player," Wright said. "He has all the intangibles and all the tangibles. In my opinion, he's the best football player in all of junior college this year."
Navonteque Strong (Fr., Scott Central/Forest) earned first-team honors at linebacker after making 96 total tackles. Bug, as he's known, had 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
"Bug's had a dynamic year," Wright said. "He's made countless big plays at critical times on defense. He stands out out there because of his size and physical presence, but he's also very fast enough to cover in the passing game. He makes tackles all over the field."
Marquise Bridges (So., Petal/Brookhaven) is a first-team wide receiver. He had 39 catches for 720 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 18.5 yards per reception.
"He's a true pit bull out there at receiver," Wright said. "He's a talented kid who has really outworked everybody else. What you see during the games is the fruit of all of his labor."
Cole Freeman (So., West Lauderdale/Collinsville) is a first-team offensive lineman. The center graded at 88 percent and had 40 knockdowns.
"Cole Freeman has had a fantastic career as a two-year starter at Gulf Coast," Wright said. "He's the quarterback of the offensive line. For two years, he's made every single call, and I can't think of one single time he's been wrong."
Maljon Joor (So., Callaway/Jackson) joins Freeman as a first-team offensive lineman. The right tackle had an 80 percent grade with 54 knockdowns.
"Maljon is an incredible talent," Wright said. "He's worked incredibly hard here for two years. He's done a fantastic job protecting Chance in a lot of critical situations."
Jamie Sheriff (So., Terry/Terry) is a second-team defensive lineman after making 50 tackles, 12 of them for losses. He tied for the league lead with eight sacks.
"Jamie is our unquestioned leader on defense," Wright said. "He came through in many, many clutch situations between applying pressure and creating negative plays."
Tre Lawson (So., North Augusta/North Augusta S.C.) has 41 tackles, including six sacks. He's forced one fumble and recovered two others.
"Tre's a unique blend of length and speed," Wright said. "He's the classic edge rusher that everybody salivates over at the highest levels. He still has a lot of room to grow and get better and paly for a long time."
Oliver Moreman (Fr., Lawrence County/Monticello) is the second-team tight end. He had only two catches, but his contributions to the Bulldogs offense are reflected in team stats rather than individual ones.
"Oliver had a really solid year for us," Wright said. "He's a good player. He's not going to show up on the stat sheet, but he did a great job as an extra offensive lineman opening up big holes."
Hayden Burton (So., Parklane Academy/Bogue Chitto) is a second-team offensive lineman. He graded out at 84 percent and had 52 knockdowns.
"Hayden's a big-time player," Wright said. "He has the measurables, but he's also a tough, gritty kid who got the job done in a lot of big situations protecting Chance and creating a lot of big runs."
Wright has led his team to an unblemished 11-0 record in his second year at Perkinston. He will be trying to become only the second coach to lead a team to national championships at two different schools when Gulf Coast takes on No. 2 Lackawanna on Dec. 5 in the NJCAA Football Championship in Pittsburg, Kan.
For more information on MGCCC's 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.