Gullett gets last shot at home grid glory

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 6, 2000

J.C. Gullett’s chances at glory have been few and far between during his career at Porters Chapel. The senior lineman has never scored a touchdown, rarely gets his hands on the ball and usually gets noticed only when something goes wrong.

But ask any of PCA’s players or coaches and you’ll quickly realize that Gullett, who along with eight other PCA seniors will play his final home game tonight at 7:30 against Brookhaven Academy, may be the Eagles’ MVP.

“J.C. is the heart and soul of this team. You can’t say much more than that. He’s a leader,” PCA head coach Bubba Mims said.

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He’s the team’s best blocker and defensive lineman, has never missed a practice or a game in six seasons of junior high and varsity ball, and is so laid back it’s hard to tell he’s anywhere near the field. The only evidence is a pancaked defender or a flattened ball carrier.

“If you were driving down the road, it’s like driving behind a Mack truck,” said PCA running back Jeremiah Riggs, who has followed Gullett’s blocks to a county-best 835 yards. “When he blocks, he opens the hole really good.”

Opening holes is the part of football the 260-pound Gullett enjoys. He has 47 tackles and one fumble recovery on defense, but said he would much rather play offense.

“Defense is a lot more tiring, but there’s just something about the offensive line, blocking, that I love,” Gullett said. “I don’t think there’s as much pressure on you on offense as there is on defense.”

He has gotten some chances to handle the ball recently, serving as a fullback in short-yardage situations. His debut at the position didn’t go well, however. In his first carry, against Pine Hills, he fumbled at the goal line.

Although Gullett would like to get noticed more, he said that type of recognition is the kind he can do without.

“If you miss a block every now and then, everybody doesn’t see it,” he said.

Gullett has yet to score a touchdown, but would like to change that before season’s end. He gets his first chance tonight against Academy-AA Brookhaven, a game in which touchdowns could be in plentiful supply.

The Cougars feature a pass-happy attack led by quarterback Jake Sessums, who has thrown for 1,087 yards and 10 TDs while rushing for another 425 yards and seven TDs.

Sessums’ biggest asset is his escapability, which has been acquired through necessity. Brookhaven coach Doug Clanton said his team’s offensive line has struggled this season.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we call him Gumby,'” Clanton said with a laugh.

Clanton also denied that Brookhaven has a depth advantage despite being a larger school. He said the Cougars will dress out about 24 players, while PCA will suit up about 15. However, PCA’s numbers were depleted further this week with a pair of injuries.

Starting receiver and defensive back Andrew Embry suffered a severe ankle sprain in practice Tuesday and will miss the next two weeks, and backup linebacker Nick Carr is out for the season with a knee injury.