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Experience is key to Wolves’ success in 2021

After a shortened six-game South Division only schedule turned into a three-game season in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Co-Lin Wolves are looking forward to getting back to normal for the 2021 season.
After going 2-1 in the three-game stretch of 2020, the Wolves will have a full nine-game schedule for this upcoming season, including games against both North and South division opponents in the Mississippi Association of Community College Conference (MACCC). Head Coach Glenn Davis is in his 18th season leading the Wolves, extending his time as the longest-serving head coach in both Co-Lin history and the MACCC. Coach Davis is optimistic with the expectations for the season but knows that his group still faces a variety of potential challenges.
“Every year, we feel like we should be able to compete for the South Division title and try to get ourselves into position to be in the state championship game,” stated Davis. “We are hoping to be able to play all of our games this season, but it is tough in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. We have several of our guys that have been vaccinated, and we continue to tell our guys that the more games we play, then the more film those players will have for recruiting purposes.”
Wolfpack fans will hear several familiar names this season as many players have returned from the 2020 team, including a slew of sophomores returning for a third year due to not losing eligibility from last season. Coach Davis believes that the amount of experience and depth his team has will help propel them to success in the upcoming season.
“From a leadership standpoint, it is a really big boost for our team because those guys have been through the grind for two seasons, and they know what we as a staff are expecting out of the team,” said Davis. “You can also see their maturity out on the field during practices when they are talking to teammates about certain things, and their maturity also helps in their on-the-field play during games.”
“Offensive line-wise, I think Jalen Armstrong (Calhoun City) will be big for us. This will be his third season with us, and he turned down an offer to stay with us, and we are excited to have him back,” added Davis.
“Paul Hargrave (Natchez) is another player that we expect big things for this season. He took a redshirt his first season with us and then started last year. Having that experience in the quarterback position is invaluable because you have a guy that has been through the battles of a season already.”
“Jalen Campbell (Winona) is a guy on the defensive side of the ball that I could see the difference in leadership-wise over the summer,” said Davis. “I think that has been a tremendous improvement for him, and it will be a boost for the defense this season.”
In addition to the return of Hargrave, the Wolves will have multiple impact players returning this season who have Coach Davis and the staff excited about their potential.
“Erick Rogers (Shannon) is the leader of our receivers, and he is one of the guys that has already put in two seasons for us. Everybody in that group looks to him for guidance and advice,” stated Davis.
“Tyquan Henderson (Canton) looked great in the three games for us last season, and we are really counting on him to continue that this season. I think he is one of the better receivers in the league because he has range, runs routes well, and makes tremendous catches for our team.”
“Dontavius Turner (Magnolia) is another speedster for us that has made some big strides over the summer and has gained more confidence in his abilities,” added Davis. “Drexlan Allen (Hattiesburg) at running back will be big for us because he is a guy that has been in our system and understands our protections. He has really taken a strong leadership role for the offense.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Wolves also feature many returning starters in addition to Campbell.
“Lamarcus Faulkner (Oxford) on the defensive line is coming back from injury, but I have seen signs of him this summer of his maturity level increasing and that will be big for us,” said Davis. “Malik Jones is a player that started at receiver for us, but we have moved to cornerback, and we have seen a great increase in his maturity level, too.”
Special teams will also feature a key impact player for the Wolves as two-year starter Bryce Lofton (Sand Hill) is back for a third year and has been named a Preseason First Team All-American by JCGridiron. “It is nice having, what I thought was the best punter and kicker in the league coming back for us. We have to shore up our long snapping game for him, but him being back and getting another year under his belt will make him even more important for us,” stated Davis. “Having Bryce back for us is extremely important because he is a guy that can go out there and punt the ball 40-45 yards anywhere on the field, and then he can also be automatic in the kicking game with field goals and extra points.”
The Wolves face a tough schedule in the 2021 season as the team opens with back-to-back road trips to Northwest Mississippi Community College on Sept. 2, and Itawamba Community College on Sept. 9. Then, the Wolves will start South Division play with a home game against Southwest Mississippi Community College on Sept. 16. The 2021 schedule also features home games against Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, East Mississippi Community College, and Jones College. However, Coach Davis understands the task and challenge that his team is facing this season.
“It is a really tough schedule and probably the toughest schedule that any South Division team has this year,” Davis said. “Anytime you start with Northwest and Itawamba, which are two of the top teams in the state, along with East Mississippi being another top team. We are going to have to play well and get off to a good start because it is always easier in this league when you are able to win early.”
“Northwest, Jones, East Mississippi, and Gulf Coast are all teams that have had a lot of success over the last few years, and we feel like we are right there in this group, too,” added Davis. “We will be able to find out where we stand and how good we are as a football team in those first two games and then turn our attention to South Division play right after that. We have to find a way to come out strong early and give ourselves a chance to have a great season at the end of the year.”
The Wolves are excited to get back to a normal season for 2021 and are excited about the opportunities that will be present throughout. Co-Lin is ready to write a new chapter in the storied tradition and legacy of excellence on the football field and will kick off the season on Thursday, Sept. 2 on the road at Northwest Mississippi Community College.