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Gridders are eyeing national ranking

Gridders are eyeing national ranking
Brandon Gilliam’s three field goals for Co-Lin against East Mississippi made the difference for the Wolves in 23-20 game.

At the Wesson Lions Club a few weeks ago, Co-Lin Head Football Coach Glenn Davis looked back at last season,

saying that had some close games gone the Wolves’ way, a 5-4 season could have been 8-1 and his team nationally ranked, and suggested maybe that could happen this year.

Whether or not Davis was expecting it, his team has put itself in the National Junior Colleges Athletic Association spotlight early on by knocking off nationally ranked East Mississippi in the season opener – the only team to beat it decisively last year.

As the 23-20 score reflected, a field goal made the difference. Co-Lin’s Brandon Gilliam had three of them, supplementing two touchdowns by the Wolves – one in first quarter and the second in the fourth quarter. The Lions led 14-10 at half time and 20-13 with 12:09 remaining in the game. The Wolves, however, sealed their upset with a 78-yard touchdown drive with 9:22 left in the game and a tie-breaking field goal with 2:01 remaining.

Co-Lin’s ride to national ranking includes four teams it defeated last year – Mississippi Delta (September 14) at home, Southwest (September 28) at home, Coahoma (October 7) away and East Central (October 26) at thome – and three other teams to which it lost – Jones (September 21) away, Gulf Coast (October 12) away and Pearl River (October 19) at home.

In addition to Davis, three new coaches – Jacob Fleming, Michael Thompson and Tommy Kelly – are guiding the 2023 Wolves.

Fleming is working with the offensive linemen. He played his high school career at North Pike in Summit from 2009-13, where he was a three-year starter and was a member of the 2010 4A State Championship team. After graduating from North Pike, Fleming came to Co-Lin where he was a starter for two seasons from 2013-14 at left tackle. During his two seasons at Co-Lin, Fleming was named First Team MACJC All-State in 2014 in addition to being named a team captain that season when the Wolves also won the South Division.

Fleming then played at the University of Southern Mississippi for the 2015-16 seasons, where he was under head coach Todd Monken. In his two seasons, Fleming was on the Conference USA Academic Honor Roll (2015), a two-year letter winner on the offensive line, starter at left tackle during the 2016 season, Conference USA West Division Champion in 2015, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Champion in 2016. He started his coaching career in 2017 at Denham Springs High School in Denham, Louisiana, where he was the run game coordinator from 2017-2019. During his tenure there the football team made playoffs four times while Fleming also had multiple players move on to the college ranks and had 12 offensive linemen earn All-District honors.

Thompson is working with receivers. He comes to Co-Lin after serving as the wide receivers coach at Southern Arkansas University from February 2022-2023. The New Orleans native played high school football at Frisco Centennial High School and four years of collegiate football, beginning with one year at Trinity Valley Community College and then three years at Louisiana College at wide receiver and tight end from 2010-2012. Upon completion of his collegiate playing career, he played professional indoor football with the East Texas Timber Rattlers in 2015 and the East Texas Punch in 2016.

Thompson graduated from Louisiana College with a Bachelor's Degree in kinesiology in 2014 then earned his master's degree in special education from Grand Canyon University in 2019. He began his coaching career in 2014 at Peabody Magnet High School in Alexandria, Louisiana, where he coached receivers, moved to Northside High School in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 2016 and then to Edna Karr High School in New Orleans from 2017-2022, serving as receivers coach for both schools. He had a multitude of players sign offers to play at various levels of collegiate football throughout his high school coaching career.

Kelly is working with the defensive line. He played high school football at Provine from 1995-1999. Kelly spent two years at East Mississippi Community College from 1999-2001 and then played for two years at Mississippi State University from 2001-2003.

After graduating from Mississippi State, he had a 12-year career in the NFL spending time with three organizations including the Oakland Raiders, the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals. After finishing his playing career, Kelly returned to his alma mater of Provine High School as a coach in 2016. He holds an Associate's Degree from East Mississippi Community College and a bachelor's degree from Mississippi State University.


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