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Friday night, the Coffee Trojans defeated the Tift County Blue Devils for the second straight year in week one of the high school football season. Coffee handled Tift easily 38-13 at Jardine Stadium, the Trojans’ 17th win in their rivalry with the Blue Devils. Coffee leads the series 17-14.
The Trojans struck quickly, scoring their first touchdown a little over a minute and a half into the game. Quarterback Maurice Hansley found H-back Range Robinson for a 50-yard touchdown. Jonah Saylor’s extra point was good to give Coffee an early 7-0 lead. Tift answered on its next drive, moving methodically downfield and scoring on a two-yard run. With 5:52 remaining in the first quarter, the game was tied at seven apiece.
Then the Trojans went on a run. They scored 31 unanswered points over the next three and a half quarters to control the game easily.
On Coffee’s second drive, Hansley hit the Trojans’ other H-back, Brady Shook, for an eight-yard score. A little over two minutes later, Coffee had a 14-7 lead.
The Trojans added 10 more points in the second quarter — three on a 32-yard field goal by Saylor and six on a 16-yard touchdown run by running back Fred Brown followed by Saylor’s extra point.
The third quarter opened with a long and frustrating drive by Tift. The Blue Devils controlled the ball for over nine minutes, only to see their drive stall and end when defensive back Anthony Paulk blocked a field goal. The Trojans took over with less than three minutes remaining in the quarter and scored again on a five-yard run by Brown. With about five minutes left in the game, running back Tyrese Hansley scored from seven yards. With Saylor’s point-after, Coffee held an insurmountable 38-7 lead.
That doesn’t mean Tift didn’t try. The Blue Devils added another score of their own with 3:52 left on a 75-yard touchdown pass. Paul blocked the extra point to keep the score at 38-13, which is what it was when the final seconds ticked off the clock.
“It was a good game but we’ve got to get a lot better. I’m proud of our guys and their effort. We’ll enjoy this one for about 24 hours then get ready for a tough Bainbridge team next week,” said head coach Mike Coe following the game.
The Bainbridge Bearcats come to town next Friday night to face the Trojans for the second year in a row. Last season, the Bearcats defeated the Trojans 24-21 in Bainbridge on their final drive after Coffee had led most of the game. So far, it’s been just fine that the 2023 season is starting out like 2022. But next week, that needs to change.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30.