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Co-Lin spoils Gulf Coast homecoming

CO-LIN MEDIA / RICH KOPP / Diquan Davis (23) follows LaShard Durr (18) on his 100 yard touchdown kick-off return.

CO-LIN MEDIA / RICH KOPP / Diquan Davis (23) follows LaShard Durr (18) on his 100 yard touchdown kick-off return.

PERKINSTON – Co-Lin’s sophomore Diquan Davis’s huge 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and the Wolfpack’s big defensive stand in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter would be the deciding moments as the No. 19 ranked Wolves spoiled the No. 3 ranked Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs’ homecoming and undefeated season with a 29-26 victory Saturday afternoon at A.L. May Memorial Stadium.

“This was a big win for our kids,” said Co-Lin coach Glenn Davis. “The guys did a great job competing today against a good Gulf Coast team. Our defense did a great job keeping us in the game in the first half.

“In the second half, we came out and played a lot better offensively,” stated Davis. “We managed to move the ball and battled back into the contest to secure the win. Overall, I am very proud of my guys’ efforts. Now, we must regroup and get ready for a tough contest Thursday night.”

In the opening quarter of action, the Bulldogs and Wolves would give their football fans plenty to cheer about with a quick offensive show in the first minute of action. The Wolves won the coin toss prior to the kickoff and elected to receive the ball in the second half.

CO-LIN MEDIA / RICH KOPP / Co-Lin's quarterback Daniel Fitzwater receives some great pass protection against Gulf Coast in Saturday's JUCO action.

CO-LIN MEDIA / RICH KOPP / Co-Lin’s quarterback Daniel Fitzwater receives some great pass protection against Gulf Coast in Saturday’s JUCO action.

On the opening kickoff, Co-Lin dipped into their bag of trick early as they attempted an onside kick to begin the game, but Gulf Coast recovered the ball on Co-Lin’s 48-yard line. Two plays later, the Bulldogs made Co-Lin pay as they scored the first points of the day as quarterback Jason Smith connected with Tyrone Williams for a 28-yard touchdown strike.

But on the very next play, Co-Lin answered with a quick score of their own as Diquan Davis took the Wolves opening kickoff to the house for a 92-yard touchdown return. Co-Lin’s extra point was blocked by the Bulldogs special team and returned for two points by Tony Bridges with 14:36 remaining in the first quarter as Gulf Coast led 9-6.

After the quick outburst in the opening minute, both teams settle down and relied on their defense to decide the momentum of the contest. Gulf Coast gained the upper hand late in the first quarter as place kicker Tristan Reynolds nailed a 26-yard field goal with 1:29 left to give the Bulldogs a 12-6 lead.

With 7:13 remaining in the second quarter, Gulf Coast increased their lead on a 23-yard pass from Smith to Tyler Allen. The score capped a 99-yard drive that Bulldogs started after stopping Co-Lin on fourth and goal from the Gulf Coast 2-yard line giving the Bulldogs a 19-6 advantage.

The Wolves fought back and cut down the Bulldogs lead to 10 on the final play of the first half when Greg Nickles made a career-long 40-yard field goal. Gulf Coast led 19-9 over Co-Lin at the half.

The opening drive of the second half was huge for Co-Lin as it took 4:06. The Wolves marched 75 yards, which was culminated with Diquan Davis scoring on a 5-yard rushing touchdown with 10:54 remaining in the third quarter. After the score, Co-Lin managed to cut the lead to 19-16.

In the fourth quarter, Co-Lin managed to take their first lead of the game with 14:54 remaining in the game when Daniel Fitzwater tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Donald Gray on a third and goal situation. Co-Lin led 23-19 after the Greg Nickles extra point.

The Wolves defense would stop the Bulldogs offensive drives twice in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs failed to make a 30-yard field goal with 5:10 remaining in the game.

After the big stop on defense, the Wolfpack offense could not pick up a first down following the missed field goal, forcing the Wolves to punt the ball away. Co-Lin would then be flagged on the ensuing punt and would give Gulf Coast the ball inside Wolves territory.

With 2:02 remaining Smith hit McCormick on a 26-yard TD toss to give Bulldogs the lead, 26-23.

On the following kickoff, Diquan Davis stepped up huge and gave the Wolves new life as he sprinted 100 yards to pay dirt for a possible game winning score as Co-Lin led 29-26.

In the closing minute of the contest, Gulf Coast quickly marched down the field to set up a game winning score after making it to the Wolves 40-yard line. Co-Lin’s defense came up huge in the closing moments as they denied the Bulldogs to advance further and stopped Gulf Coast on a fourth-and-six situation to secure the win,

Offensively, Fitzwater led the team completing 117-of-29 passes for 163 and a touchdown. Gray was the top receiver with three catches for 52 yards and touchdown.

De’Lance Turner powered the Wolves ground attack with nine rushes for 63 yards.

Defensively, Zachery Williams led the team with eight tackles. Lashard Durr had three pass breakups.

Win this huge victory, the Wolves (5-2, 5-1) return home for a huge division contest against the Jones County Bobcats that will decide the MACJC South Division crown. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium.