No. 14 Co-Lin hosts No. 7 Gulf Coast in home finale
WESSON – The Co-Lin Wolfpack return to Wesson for their final home game of the regular season looking to rebound from back-to-back loses the previous two weeks including a 33-26 defeat to Hinds last week in Raymond. With the losses, the Wolves have dropped to 5-2 on the season and went from holding the top spot in the NJCAA national rankings for four weeks, to the No. 14 spot. The MACJC South division rival Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs will enter Stone Stadium ranked No. 7, after defeating the Pearl River Wildcats 41-7 last Thursday in Perkinston. The Bulldogs hold a 6-1 record this season.
Under the leadership of second year head coach Chad Huff, the Bulldog’s have been able to put up impressive season, only losing one game on the year a 26-10 contest, against No. 4 ranked Northwest Mississippi in Senatobia. After defeating Co-Lin the previous week, Pearl River traveled to Perkinston with another upset on their minds, but it was not meant to be as the Bulldogs coasted to an impressive 34-point victory, which was highlighted by the play of Franklin County native Chris Robinson, rushed for three touchdowns and 51 yards. Sophomore defensive back Denzel Allen also added to the scoring with a 41-yard interception return for a score. The Bulldogs have become use to interceptions returned for touchdowns as they have already tallied three this year.
The season so far for the Wolfpack, has gone from high expectations and lofty goals and turned into a one of unexpected challenges. Battling numerous injuries to multiple starters and relying on untested freshmen, Co-Lin visited Raymond looking to steal a victory from their well-known South Division rival, the Hinds Eagles. In the end, a slow start to the second half doomed the Wolves.
After opening the scoring with a 6-yard touchdowns reception by sophomore running back Lakedric Lee, a blocked Greg Nickles point after try kept Co-Lin’s point total to 6. A long Hinds touchdown pass brought the halftime score to 7-6. An 8-yard scoring toss from Garrett Kruczek to fellow freshman DeAndre Barnes brought the Wolves to within one score of the Eagles, 21-14, but combination of a Hinds interception for and touchdown to wide out Javon Wims was just too much for the Wolfpack to overcome.
A fourth quarter late charge saw Kruczek toss touchdowns to freshman Alexander Hollins and sophomore Jalen Jackson, but it was too little too late as Hinds picked up the win.
Lee was a highlight again for the Wolfpack as he fell just 2 yards short of his fifth 100-yard rushing performance this season. His 98-yard night brought his season rushing total to 710, good enough to average over 100 rushing yards a game. While his lone interception proved costly, Kruczek was able to toss for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns while completing 20-of-34 pass attempts.
On defense, the Wolfpack were able to force three turnovers to help keep Co-Lin in the game. Sophomore linebacker Marico Page forced two Eagle fumbles, recovered a fumble and accounted for seven tackles, to lead the Wolves. Sophomore defensive end Deshon Cooper returned a fumble 33-yards into Eagle territory. Freshman Quadarius Reed earned himself recognition from Wolfpack coaches with one of the most spectacular plays on the night, intercepting a Hinds pass from his defensive tackle position. The Yazoo County graduate returned the ball into Eagle territory, leading to one of Kruczek’s late touchdown strikes.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Stone Stadium. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Watch live at www.colinathletics.com or listen live at WMJU 104.3 FM in Brookhaven.