Bulldogs open season Thursday night in Poplarville

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*Story by Steve Diffey with HolmesAthletics.com

The 2022 Holmes Community College Bulldog football team will have a lot of new faces on the sideline and playing field this season including first-year head coach and Starkville native Marcus Wood.

Wood brings a lot of coaching experience to Holmes. His most recent coaching stint was as offensive coordinator at East Mississippi, where he helped lead the Lions to three NJCAA national championships, five MACJC state titles, eight North Division crowns and participated in five NJCAA bowl games winning all of those.

In late March, a tornado severely damaged the Goodman Campus. In doing so, the storm damaged the dormitory where the football players live, the field house which houses the dressing room and uniforms and the equipment building near the practice field. The Bulldogs got only one day of spring ball before the tornado hit the campus.

The College worked hard all spring and summer getting the campus put back together, but in doing so, the facilities damaged were still under renovation when the players returned in July for summer classes and workouts.

“The summer has gone well,” Wood said. “We are anxious to get into the fall. We have some different things we of course had to adjust to, but I think our players have come in with very good attitudes, work ethics and good mentalities. We are excited about that and looking forward to getting started.

In dealing with the adversity, Wood said, “I think a lot of that is our kids and our coaches. The assistant coaches I have are really positive. It’s been remarkable from our players’ standpoint when we were dressing out of the dorm. Nobody was complaining. Everybody has picked up and made the best out of that situation. I’m excited about that. We’ve dealt with some adversity and our whole college has dealt with adversity and I hope that will make us stronger.”

“I think you are going to see from a playing standout is that we want to be hard-nosed, we want to be fast, and we want to be aggressive. I think that’s what most coaches want,” he said of the Bulldog players. “We want to people to recognize our kids as good representatives of the school. We want them to be recognized as high-character kids who work hard.

“Nobody is perfect,” he added. “The kids are going to make mistakes, and I am going to make mistakes. I think we want to do a good job in trying to sell the fact that we have a good group of young people that care not only about the game but the community, the college and the whole deal.”

Offense

“We are going to spread the ball around the field as much as we can,” Wood said. “We feel we have a lot of athletic guys and big offensive lineman. We want to spread the ball and create some voids and some seams and hopefully put pressure on defenses with that.

“We really want to stress tempo,” he added. “It neutralizes a lot of things that people can do to you so we want to be as fast-paced as we can and hopefully even the playing field a little bit.”

Quarterbacks include: Philip Short (MRA), Ethan Wood (Kosciusko) and NyJal Johnson (Starkville).

Running backs include: J.J. Grant (West Lauderdale), Wykece Johnson (Central Holmes), Joe Moss (Grenada), Vontrez Rush (Hollandale Simmons) and Deriaun Townsend (Winona).

Wide receivers include: A.J. Davis IV (Maryville, Tenn.), Colton DeShazo (D’Iberville), Dekari Johnson (Leflore County), D’Anthony McGlothan (J.Z. George), Jon Riley Poe (Manchester), K.D. Rancifer (Greenville Christian), Kerrick Ross (Greenville Christian), Jarvis Rush (Louisville), Vontrez Rush (Hollandale Simmons), Jahiem Shack (Grenada), Kendarrius Smith (Jackson Prep) and Bryceton Spencer (Neshoba Central).

Offensive linemen include: Markel Bell (Cleveland Central), A.J. Breland (Hattiesburg), Mark Bellinger (Hillcrest), Robert Cook (D’Iberville), Logan Johnson (West Lauderdale), Chris Lanney (Cleveland Central), Terrion Ross (Greenville Christian), Ivan Thames (Richland), Chase Wood (Petal) and Jonathan Street (Wayne County).

Defense

“We like to have the two safeties on the hashes as much as we can,” Wood said. “That’s kind of the plan. We will have some variations when we come off the hash. We will start out as 4-3 base unit and move around to various fronts.”

Linebackers include: Braxton Bolton (Hattiesburg), Laterrance Cassels (Prairie View), Miquel Evans (Newton County), Yaphet Hearn (Byhalia), Robert Jennings (Morton), Breon Jordan (Philadelphia), Parviz King (Holmes County), Nigel Manns (Peach County, Ga.), Kendall McCallum (Oxford, Ala.), Ja’Nyus Morgan (Cypress Ridge, Texas) and Reid Pulliam (Life Christian, Texas).

Defensive linemen include: Laterrance Cassels (Prairie View), Commondre Cole (West Lauderdale), Tyrese Fields (Germantown), Jeremiah Kirk (Louisville), Joshua Lloyd (Morton), Corion Mathis (Mendenhall), Ja’Nyus Morgan (Cypress Ridge, Texas), Kabron Purifoy (Tate, Fla.), Octavius Robinson (Greenville Christian), Tony Taylor (D’Iberville), Maxton Woodward (Neshoba Central) and Chris Walley (Wayne County).

Defensive backs include: Dandreyus Giles (Holmes County), Dylan Gray (Terry), Celeycan Hill (Brandon), Zyonn Mayes (Biggersville), Daveontay McDonald (Harrison Central), Parks Poe (Manchester), Laquan Robinson (Greenville, Ala.), Justin Smith (Holmes County), Ke’zerrian Wash (Newton), Jodie Williams (Holmes County), Brandon Davis (John Curtis, La.) and Quintin Talley (Byrnes, S.C.).

Special Teams

Specialists include: Luke Moffett (Hatley), kicker; Will Carter (Kosciusko), kicker; Ryan Wood (Grenada), punter; and Ethan Wood (Kosciusko), long snapper.

The remaining coaching staff includes: Les George, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach; William Jones, Defensive Coordinator; Barney Farrar, Defensive Backs Coach/Recruiting Coordinator; Bo Wallace, Quarterback Coach; Marcel Andry, Defensive Line Coach; Damion Willis, Wide Receivers Coach; and Randan Knight, Assistant Offensive Line Coach.

“I think the whole group of them is really good. I think we have a good mix of guys who have some experience and have some younger guys mixed in. That keeps us all juiced up and gives you a lot of energy,” Wood said. “I have a lot of guys who have been a lot of different places and worked at a lot of different schools not only at this league but at the NCAA level so hopefully we can take their experiences and things they have done and take it to another level with them. I’m very fortunate to have the guys I have. I’m going to do the best job I can staying out of their way.”

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