The Gulf Coast Trojans put together a solid first year and went into the Gulf States Football League playoffs undefeated and a No. 1 seed before getting upset by the eventual champion, No. 4 seed Louisiana Bayou Hurricanes in the first round 6-0.
“We came out strong, we had all of our numbers,” Trojans owner Ace Peters told Developmental Football USA. “We played in the middle of a tropical storm. Once the storm stopped, the pass came off a slant route to a receiver from the Hurricanes.
“We didn’t come in cocky because we knew what we were facing in quarterback Josh Edison. Credit to them. What killed us was playing in that storm.”
The Hurricanes’ touchdown pass from Edison to Tyland Fields went on to be the only score of the game, but it cut the Trojans’ stellar season short and left a bad taste in the mouth of many of their men.
“They couldn’t run the ball,” Peters aid. “They couldn’t do anything. They had about two deep passes, but other than that, they couldn’t do anything. Their guy ran a slant route, caught it and scored. We came out strong and we had the numbers, ran the ball well, and passed the ball pretty well.”
In fact, this weekend, they’re looking to flush out those old memories with some new ones as they take on the Walker Warriors and the Magnolia State Knights in the Jamboree in Plaquemine, Louisiana, before beginning play in a fall league the following weekend.
“We’ll start here next week for the Jamboree,” Peters said. “Then, the 29th of July, we will start the Deep South Football League. We’ll have eight teams, we have some of the GSFL teams that are already there: us, the Knights, the Walker Warriors and a couple more teams from the GSFL that’s going to be in the DSFL. “
We did take a major loss at the running back position,” Peters said. “One of my guys got hurt when we played the Hattiesburg Hawks.
Offensively, the Trojans took a major loss at the running back position when Ike Cherry suffered an injury against the Hattiesburg Hawks, but Javon Williams took over and has been solid ever since.
“Williams actually played with the Alexandria Bayou Bengals out of Louisiana. He plays quarterback, he plays running back, he plays linebacker. He’s our running back and we want to kind of take the load off of him for the fall and spring season. It’s been kind of hard on him.”
Another weapon joining Williams on offensive is wide receiver Mike Chambers.
“He’s a real versatile guy, for sure hands,” Peters said. “I know for a fact if we throw it to him, he’s going to catch it.”
Defensively, the Trojans are led by rover Dasmond Kirkland, Demario Gainer and cornerback Xavier Jones.
“Xavier was our interceptions leader on our team,” Peters said. “He has great coverage skills, great vision and he can return kicks. He’s just as smart, his IQ level is way above being on this minor league setting.
“Dasmond is a for sure leader. He’s also a ball hawk and a for sure tackler. They work hand in hand when they play. He’s very versatile and he can cover like no other.”
Gainer holds down the defense for Gulf Coast at the middle linebacker position.
“He’s our run stopper,” Peters said. “He’s actually the guy that makes sure nothing comes past the second level. His IQ is high too. He’s one of our offensive guys too. He comes in and brings a positive energy when it’s time to play. When we’re playing, his whole focus is that no one is getting past us.”
After the fall league, the Trojans will play the Houston Titans, which recently committed to the Crossroads Amateur Football League for 2018. The game is set for January 18, 2018.
“Going into the spring season, we’ve got the Houston Titans, which is my cousin’s team,” Peters said. “We already said we’re going to play each other, so may the best family member win.”
With an outstanding inaugural season under their belts, look for the Trojans to continue to make noise beyond just the Biloxi-Gulfport area.
“It’s the whole Gulf Coast,” Peters said. “I want to be able to provide young men from high school at least some kind of chance. I’m not promising anything, but doing what we can to get them to the next level and getting them some film.”
Success at any level of football always draws more interest and more interest allows teams to more easily raise the bar on their standards and expectations.
“When new players come and ask, the first thing we are going to look at is their social media and things like that,” Peters said. “That’s one thing we don’t want to have is a bad reputation because of their social media.
“We want to make sure we get into some of these high schools. The kids are the main focus right now. We want to get our program established and do the reading programs and different outreaches. It’s a long term deal, I don’t want to be a one and done, just play spring and leave the fall.”