PREVIEWS: Miss. Gulf Coast & Moorpark

This is the second in a series of articles previewing prospective top-20 elevens. Bear in mind that the JC Grid-Wire Pre-Season ranking comes out in late-August. Our first preview featured Coffeyville and Grossmont. This week we will take a look at Moorpark and Mississippi Gulf Coast. (PHOTO: Terrence Cody, MGCCC)

2006 Record: 9-2
Finished 13th in the overall J.C. Grid-Wire final standings.

James Bittner’s Raiders were among the powerhouses last season and return seven vets on the defensive side. “Defense will be our strength,” said Bittner and with the likes of DE Josh Douglas, a 6-3 1/2, 245-pounder, and strong safety Wesley Beavers, 6-0, 190, on hand, he’s not kidding.

On the offensive side five starters return, headed by WR Conrad Meadows, a 5-9, 175-pound speedster, who also specializes in kick returns. He earned first team All-Conference at the All-Purpose position last year. OT Brandon Sofley, 6-5, 280, has room to add a pound or two and has shown signs of greatness.  Cameron Merrill did most of the QB work last year, but Kyle Blum, 6-3, 195, who popped a 37-inch vertical at the combine in May, looks like a very capable replacement to run the spread offense. A couple of hot shot freshmen, OT Thomas Chavez  6-5, 300, and Dakota Holland, 6-0, 185-pounder, should be a big help to Moorpark's chances.

Bittner has been around for 28 years and has piled up l84 wins along the way. The schedule will be tough, but MP looks like a solid choice to equal last year’s record. One of their 2006 losses was a 31-29 decision at the hands of California champ El Camino. That type of play will go a long way for the Raiders.


2006 Record: 7-2 in 2006

MGCCC finished third behind Pearl River, 10-2, and Copiah-Lincoln, 9-3, and coach Steve Campbell seems determined to bring the division title and recognition back to the Perkinston, Mississippi school. Despite the two losses the Bulldogs led all Mississippi Jucos in rushing offense and defense, allowing Larry Warner, now at Southern Illinois, to run for 1,237 yards and holding the opposition to 77.7 yards rushing per game.

Remember the name Terrence Cody (PHOTO ABOVE). The big fella, 6-5, 375, does a great job plugging the middle on defense with “freakish ability.”  LB Jeremy Evans 6-1, 225, led the team in tackling as a frosh. Free safety Tremaine Brock is another to be reckoned with.

“We return a good core of our OL that  was number two in the nation last year,” said Campbell, who sports a 20-8 record over the past three years. Leaders of that bunch would be center Keating Helms, 6-2, 305, and Cory Pittman, 6-3, 295. Ervin Moore, 5-9, 205, is the tailback responsible for replacing Warner. WR Jarvis Kinchen returns and much is expected of freshman whiz Jamel Gandy, 5-9, 180.

If Gulf Coast can repeat a 303-point season while allowing the foes just 100 they will surely be in the hunt for a position in the JC Grid-Wire Top-20 when the season ends. However, the South Division has become a burial ground for high hopes in recent years with big, bad Pearl River on the prowl, Copiah-Lincoln returning eight starters from a 7-2 campaign, and Jones and Hinds always being tough.

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