Sherman looks for payback vs. Gulf Coast

ELLISVILLE – Chase Sherman, a native of Biloxi, has had October 24, 2009, circled on his calendar for quite some time. The starting left offensive tackle for the Jones County Junior College Bobcats does not have fond memories of last year's 41-8 loss to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Bulldogs. And it's kind of personal for the former D'Iberville High School star.

"I have been waiting for this game all year after the way they beat us last year," he said. "I went back home and there was a lot of trash talking and you can't really say anything when there is a 41-8 score. So, I have been waiting for this.

"I have a grudge against them because they did not even offer me a scholarship out of high school. They just told me to come and try out. They told me I was not big enough. I will be playing against a lot of people I played with and played against in high school. I feel like I've got something to prove."

Sherman (6-3, 280) and his No. 14-ranked Bobcats will host the fifth-ranked Bulldogs for the MACJC South Division championship at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

JCJC is 6-2 overall, riding a six-game winning streak, while Gulf Coast is 7-1 and is on a seven-game winning streak.

Sherman said the Bobcats' first two games – losses to Itawamba and East Mississippi – put a bad taste in their mouths and awakened the team.

"We just got tired of losing," he said. "We knew we were better than that. Once we started winning, it was like, ‘Hey, we can do this.' Now we are on a roll where we feel like if we can do what we do best, we can't be beat.

"If we play as a team, we can't be beat."

As the left tackle, Sherman is faced with the task of going up against the opposing team's right defensive end. That player is, in all likelihood, the opponent's best pass rusher.

"Usually, I've got a pretty good defensive end I'm going against on my side," he said. "They usually put their best defensive end on the right side and I'm at left tackle. I have to protect the quarterback's blind side. Last year, I went up against two All-Americans my freshman year, including one from Itawamba (Pernell McPhee, now starting at Mississippi State University) and this year, I've had to go up against the All-American from East Mississippi (Claude Davis). And Gulf Coast will have a quality player at defensive end."

Sherman said the Bobcat offensive line is a close-knit group. He said they have to be that way because the offensive line has to be in synch.

"We are just like a family up there," he said. "We play like brothers. You have got to play like that in the offensive line. If one person messes up, then the play cannot work. It's not about a single individual in the offensive line. You have to work together as a group."

Sherman played in several games as a freshman before he was sidelined with a knee injury. He said that year of experience has been vital this season.

"It's not as fast of a pace, it seems," he said. "You are not as nervous before a game. It is a little less stressful, I guess. It's not as hard as it was when I was a freshman."

Sherman plans to graduate in December and enroll at a senior college to continue his football career. He has enjoyed his time at JCJC.

"I am not sure where I am going at this point," he said. "I've talked to a couple of schools and I have a couple of offers. But I am going to take my visits first and decide after that.

"I love it up here. It's a small town, but I like it up here. I would not want to be anywhere else."

The Bobcats do not want their winning streak to end anytime soon. Sherman said the team's goal is pretty simple at this point – keep winning.

"We will take it one game at a time, but we want to win this game and get the first playoff game at home," he said. "If we win that one, then we will be in the state championship game. Most likely, we would play Gulf Coast again if we make it to the state championship game and that game would be at home, too."

And if the Bobcats win the state championship where will Chase Sherman play his final game at Jones County Junior College? Right back in his hometown.

"We will be in the Mississippi Bowl in Biloxi," he said laughing.

But now the team is completely focused on this week's game against Gulf Coast.

"This is what we've worked for," he said. "We have been thinking about this game since last year when they embarrassed us. We have been working for this game since last year, during the spring and over the summer.

"I figured it would come down to this game. I think we will be ready."

Saturday's game can be viewed live at www.jcjc.tv with Lance Pittman doing play-by-play and Mark Easley on commentary. The game will also air on WGDQ-FM, 93.1. The pregame show begins at 1:30 p.m.

Regardless of the outcome of the Gulf Coast game, the Bobcats will be in the playoffs somewhere on Saturday, Oct. 31.


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