Tigers Drop Opener at Top-Ranked MGCCC
PERKINSTON – Traveling five hours away to open the season against the top-ranked junior college football team in the nation is a daunting task for any JUCO football program. But for the Coahoma Community College Tigers, who have had just a little more than three weeks to gel together as a football team, the challenge was a little more daunting than most.
Frankly, it was a gut check – a 63-14 loss that left CCC a little dazed, a little bruised but definitely not broken.
“(Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) is ranked No. 1 in the nation for a reason,” said CCC Head Coach Freeman Horton. “We fought with them for a little bit, but we just don’t have the caliber of athletes that they do. But I was really proud of the effort of our team, they kept fighting, and they learned a lesson tonight and learned a lot about themselves tonight.”
Coahoma made early-season mistakes Thursday night. After the Bulldogs put together a 7-play, 59-yard touchdown drive to open the game, CCC quarterback Quaintavous Peterson fumbled the exchange from his center in the Tigers own end zone on their second play from scrimmage. MGCCC pounced on the football giving them a 14-0 advantage just three minutes into the game.
The Bulldogs offense hit the gas pedal from there, scoring on four of its next six offensive possessions in the first half.
Coahoma was able to get on the scoreboard with just less than three 3:00 remaining in the half when Peterson took the ball in on a 2-yard keeper leaving the Tigers trailing at the intermission, 42-7.
The second-half scoring remained pretty static, with MGCCC finding the end zone three more times, and Peterson finding the end zone again for Coahoma late in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard run.
The Tigers continued to grind despite the scoreboard and did show flashes of brilliance with the running game. Running back Tiberas Lampmkin got the majority of the carries for CCC, and freshman Gulfport native Christian Williams also put together a handful of solid carries. But the Coahoma offensive never found the consistency it needed in the opener that would allow them to sustain drives. Peterson also had a number of his passes during crucial third down situations hit his receiver’s hands and fall to the turf.
“I saw some good things out there on the field tonight, too,” said Horton. “We moved the ball well at times, but we just have to become consistent. And, on defense, we're going to have to tackle better.
“We ran the ball really well, our backs ran the ball hard, and we threw the ball well we just had a lot of dropped passes. Those kinds of things are drive killers.”
Another bright spot Thursday night was the play of the CCC special teams. Kick and punt returner Damico Ewing showed off his speed during his returns and handed the Tigers offense good field position for most of the night.
“I was really proud of our special teams tonight, our kickoff team and our punt coverage team, they did a great job tonight,” Horton said. “(Ewing) had some good returns as well. I was worried about our special teams but they did a really great job tonight.”
After kicking off the season against the nation’s best, the Tigers’ schedule doesn’t get any easier the next few weeks. CCC will open its home schedule Thursday (Sept. 5) at James E. Miller Stadium against preseason 15th-ranked Hinds Community College with kickoff slated for 6:30 p.m.
Thursday’s game will begin a three-game home stand where the Tigers will also face Northwest (Sept. 12) and Pearl River (Sept. 19).
“I know we are going to get better,” said Horton. “They’re young, they’re kids, and their feelings are hurt a little bit right now. But they’re resilient and they are going to bounce back. It’s one of the things you worry about with a young team, you don’t want your kids to drop their heads and think that this is the end of the world; it’s just the beginning of the season.
“We are going to continue to fight; we are going to continue to get better. We just faced a very well-oiled program tonight that did a lot of good things, (MGCCC) played well tonight.”