SMCC drops season finale against Miss. Gulf Coast

SMCC's Jerry Johnson (7) takes a handoff during Friday's game against Gulf Coast. 

In an attempt to end what has been arguably the most unusual and perhaps frustrating seasons on a positive note, the Southwest Mississippi Community College Bears was hoping to knock off the 2019 National Champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs Friday afternoon during homecoming.

However, an inconsistent offense and a defense that struggled to keep up with the high-powered Gulf Coast attack did SMCC in as it fell 40-3.

The game was originally scheduled for Thursday but was moved back a day because Gulf Coast was coming off of a quarantine period due to COVID-19 issues.

The defense for the Bears (0-6) got off to a positive start getting an interception early on, however a pair of fumbles on offense hurt the hosts.

The Bulldogs (4-0) struck first when Philip Short connected with Jalen Bracey on a 31-yard touchdown strike putting the Bears in a 6-0 hole.

By the final minute of the first quarter, that deficit grew to 13-0 after a short touchdown run by the Bulldogs' Q.J. Skipper.

SMCC lost another fumble on the ensuing drive as the loose ball was scooped up by Gulf Coast defensive lineman and North Pike alum Jace McCoy and returned into Bear territory.

The Bear defense prevented points on the ensuing drive but after getting the ball back another fumble by SMCC resulted in another loss of possession dashing the hopes of the hosts trying to climb back into the ball game.

A second short touchdown run by Skipper made the score 19-0 in the early stages of the second quarter.

One positive that worked in favor of the Bears was committing far fewer penalties than the Bulldogs. SMCC committed only one for 10 yards while Gulf Coast had 13 for 112 yards. One of which was a personal foul penalty that assisted the Bears late in the second quarter. It helped set up a 27-yard field goal by Josh Massa which was good, putting SMCC on the board at 19-3.

However, that would be the Bears' lone bright spot on offense for the remainder of the contest.

The Bulldogs scored two additional passing touchdowns and one more on the ground to pull away with the win.

Vakeilon Campbell led the Bears with 50 yards on 11 carries.

Friday's loss marks the second-consecutive winless season for the Bears. 

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