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Blue-collar Wolfpack works for championship

Appropriately, Co-Lin’s colors are blue and white. The footballteam and coaching staff are blue collar workers who labor overtimeto be successful.

For sure the Co-Lin Wolfpack are near the pinnacle of gridironsuccess in the Mississippi Association of Community/JuniorColleges. They play for the state championship Saturday in historicStone Stadium. Their opponent, Gulf Coast, provides a formidablechallenge. Kickoff is 5 p.m.

Co-Lin head coach Glenn Davis put the game in perspective. “Win,lose or draw, I’m tickled with everybody. The only way to have agreat year is to beat Gulf Coast. We’ve already had a goodyear.”

Co-Lin, 8-1 overall and ranked No. 8 in the latest NJCAANational Poll, hasn’t won a state championship since 1985. TheWolves were close in 2006, losing 21-20 to Pearl River in the titlegame at Wesson.

To their credit, Co-Lin rebounded and whipped Georgia MilitaryCollege 21-0 in the Golden Isles Bowl Classic, located inBrunswick, Ga. The Wolves finished 9-3 and were ranked No. 6nationally.

Win or lose Saturday, Co-Lin should be considered as anattractive candidate for a bowl game. But first the Wolves have ascore to settle with Gulf Coast. It was a disappointing 23-3 lossat Perkinston in the seventh week of the season that marredCo-Lin’s worksheet.

Co-Lin’s defense is ranked No. 1 in the MACJC and they lookedstrong in last Saturday’s playoff game against defending statechampion East Mississippi. The pack limited EMCC to 254 yards totaloffense in a 48-21 triumph.

Directed by Co-Lin quarterback Percy Turner, the Pack amassed471 yards total offense. Turner, a sophomore from Jefferson County,passed for 170 yards and rushed for 104 more. Freshman running backJoel Davis of Natchez rushed for 104 yards and scored threeTDs.

Davis credits the cohesiveness of his staff as a key to histeam’s success. He and defensive coordinator Brett Shufelt havebeen together for eight years.

Secondary coach Calvin Green has been with the program for 17years. Drew O’Daniel is in his third year as offensive line coach.Clarence McDougal is in his third year as linebacker coach and BillHemingway is in his second year as running backs coach.

“We don’t staff meet a whole bunch,” said Davis. “They know whatI expect. They come in an get their work done.

“I can’t say enough about how they work and the hours they putin.”

Co-Lin president Dr. Ronnie Nettles said the football team’shigh level of success has a positive effect on campus life. “Youhave a whole positive atmosphere. Over 250 students are involved,when you count the players, the band, the Colettes, the teammanagers and trainers and the camera/TV crew.”

Nettles said the title game is special. “It’s a wonderful rewardfor all of those people who have really worked during the fall toget here.”

He is urging football fans to attend the game. “No doubt, GulfCoast will bring a lot of fans to the game. We are encouraging ourfaculty and students to turn out for the game and support our team.We are inviting students from the Natchez and Simpson Countycampuses, too.”

“This has been a great group. Winning tends to make them betterstudents and citizens. It’s been a good year for all of our studentathletes.”

Nettles said Coach Davis and his staff and players have workedovertime to be successful. “I know those guys work year round. I’mso proud of what they have accomplished.

“They have done a great job representing Co-Lin,” he pointedout. “And they don’t do it on a big budget. They have done itthrough hard work.”

 

Meanwhile, Professor Hoopla B.S. has been working hard on hisstate high school playoff forecast. It’s a tough, row to hoe and itbecomes tougher with each round.

Hoopla predicted the winners of 22.high school and college gameslast week and got 18 right. Special congrats to Franklin County,Hazlehurst, Wesson and Co-Lin.

Here’s his preview of this weekend’s winners, starting withFriday’s high school scene.

Brookhaven at Long Beach: It’s a long bus rideto the Gulf Coast for the opening round of the Class 5A stateplayoffs but the Panthers will enjoy the trip home after clippingthe Bearcats. Brookhaven 24-21.

Cenla at Brookhaven Academy: Cougars have theirhigh-octane offense in gear and that’s bad news for the Lions fromPineville, La. in this AA state quarterfinals game. BrookhavenAcademy 42-16.

Forest at Franklin County: Top-ranked Bearcatsshowcase their stable of DI prospects in Meadville. Forest32-16.

Bogue Chitto at Nanih Waiya: Warriors enjoyed awaltz past the Bobcats in last year’s Class 1A state playoff game.It will be a little harder this time. Nanih Waiya 42-20.

Wesson at Bassfield: Cobras encounter thedefending Class 2A state champion Yellowjackets in the second roundand it’s a track meet. Bassfield 38-18.

In other area high school playoff games, Hazlehurst overPhiladelphia 18-16, North Pike over Laurel 24-17 and Morton overJefferson County 14-12.

After draining a Diet Dr. Pepper, Hoopla reveals Saturday’scollegiate winners.

Gulf Coast at Co-Lin: All signs point to anepic struggle as the Wolfpack reap revenge in the MACJC state titlegame. Co-Lin 20-14.

Ole Miss at Tennessee: Looks like an offensiveshow on Rocky Top. Tennessee 33-23.

Mississippi State at Alabama: Bulldogs had anopen date to prepare for the powerful Crimson Tide. They needed twoopen dates. Alabama 28-14.

Southern Miss at Central Florida: Heavilycriticized for their lack of defense, the Golden Eagles have achance to redeem themselves before they visit DisneyWorld. TheBulls have a better defense. Central Florida 31-24.

In other Magnolia State action, Jackson State over Arkansas-PineBluff 42-32, Prairie View over Alcorn State 28-19, Alabama A&Mover Valley State 38-8, Delta State over Lambuth 29-12, Millsapsover Birmingham-Southern 21-10, Belhaven over Georgetown 26-17 andMississippi College over McMurray 34-24.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602 or e-mailsports@dailyleader.com