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The game of football has evolved over the years. It's faster, more complicated, and more specialized. But newer isn't always better. The Jones County Greyhounds found that out on Friday night -- just like the 11 other Coffee Trojan opponents have since August.
The Trojans used the same tried-and-true formula they've relied on all year long to win their 12th straight game, a 45-14 shellacking of the Greyhounds at Jardine Stadium in the second round of the playoffs -- a punishing ground attack and ferocious defense. The Coffee defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble recovery) and scored a touchdown for the third week in a row.
Offensively, the trio of running backs Fred Brown (2) and Tyrese Hansley (1), and quarterback Maurice Hansley (2), accounted for five touchdowns, all of which were rushing scores. Defensive back Tyriq Edwards added the sixth touchdown on a 90-yard pick six in the fourth quarter that effectively ended the game.
"It was ugly at times but our guys keep battling. They don't flinch. We had some penalties there but they don't flinch. They find a way and someone always steps up. We're at home next week and I want to thank all these Coffee fans for showing up. Come back next week. I know it's Thanksgiving but that's on Thursday. Get back in town and show up here Friday. And bring everyone you can," said head coach Mike Coe after the game.
Coffee never trailed the entire night. The Greyhounds got within striking distance a few times but each time they threatened to close the gap, the Trojans opened up the throttle and pulled farther away.
The two teams fought to a draw for most of the first quarter. Neither Coffee nor Jones could sustain any offensive momentum. At one point, Jones quarterback Devin Edwards connected with Tyler Stewart for a long gain. The play gave the Greyhounds some life but right after that play, they fumbled and Tyriq Edwards recovered. Jones's defense stiffened and put the brakes on Coffee's drive, forcing a punt.
The Trojans finally broke the tie with 86 seconds left in the first quarter when Maurice Hansley scored on a nine-yard run. In the second quarter, the Coffee running game started gaining momentum. Brown began eating up yards and the Trojans were moving the ball. Still, finding the end zone wasn't easy. A Coffee drive stalled at the Jones 12 and Coach Coe decided to do something the Trojans haven't done much this year: kick a field goal. Jonah Saylor trotted on the field and promptly drilled the 29-yard kick for three points. With 8:38 left in the second quarter, the Trojans were up 10-0.
Later in the quarter, Edwards picked off his first pass of the night. His interception gave the Trojans the ball at the Jones County 27. That led to a 21-yard Fred Brown touchdown to give Coffee a 17-0 lead with 2:58 remaining. About two minutes later, Edmonds hit Zion Ragans for a 73-yard touchdown that got the Greyhounds within 10.
Jones kicked to Coffee after the score and caught the Trojan return team napping. They went for a surprise onside kick and recovered it on the Coffee 40. The Greyhounds had 59 seconds to work with and points of any kind could have re-shaped the trajectory of the game in the second half.
Thankfully, the defense had other plans. The Trojans played tough and kept the Greyhound offense on its heels. Defensive end Elgie Paulk brought down Edmonds for a sack. That led to a 4th and 12 with 20 seconds left. Edmonds found a receiver on the sidelines for a completion but it was short of the first down. Hansley and company took over with 11 seconds left in the second quarter and ran out the clock.
Coffee took a 17-7 lead into halftime.
When the third quarter opened, the Greyhounds figured if an onside kick worked once, it could work again. They tried another one and it would have worked like a charm -- if it had gone 10 yards. It was just short and Coffee took over near midfield. Maurice Hansley marched his troops downfield and finished the drive in short order when his brother, Tyrese Hansley, scored on a six-yard run. It took the Trojans just 45 seconds to increase their lead to 24-7.
But Jones wasn't ready to give up yet. On the ensuing possession, Edmonds and Ragans hooked up again for a 23-yard score. Once again, the Greyhounds had narrowed the gap to 10 points with 9:45 left in the third quarter.
But that's as close as they would get.
Jones went for a pooch kick after the touchdown. Travis Adams caught the ball and returned it to their 46. Coffee drove downfield but the drive stalled at the 30. Coe called another field goal and sent James Jarrard, who usually handles the kick-off duties for the Trojans, to attempt the 47-yarder. His kick was right on line but fell just short.
The Coffee offense made sure not to miss any more opportunities. Two plays into the fourth quarter, Brown scored his second touchdown of the night on a 42-yard run. The put the Trojans up 31-14.
Jones drove deep into Coffee territory twice in the fourth quarter. One ended in a turnover on downs when the Trojans stopped the Greyhounds on 4th and 4 from the Coffee 8 yard line with 6:42 left in the game. The second time, Edmonds and company made it to the Trojans' 25. And that's when Edwards jumped in front of an Edmonds pass around the Coffee 10 and raced down the sidelines for a back-breaking pick six with 3:16 remaining.
On the first play from scrimmage after Coffee kicked to Jones, Adams intercepted another pass and took it to the Greyhound 9. That led to a one-yard dive across the goal line by Maurice Hansley to give the Trojans a 45-14 lead with just 40 seconds in the game.
"They've got some really good speed. They pulled everything they could out of the hat there. [Edmonds] is good. They did some good things then they went to that no huddle and we couldn't get our blitzes called in. Again, guys just made plays. James Jarrard boomed kicks. Saylor -- perfect on extra points and kicked a field goal. [Punter] Micale Smith has been a weapon for us all year. It was a big team win in all three phases. I'm proud of our kids and I'm proud of our coaches," said Coach Coe.
The Trojans will face the Cass Colonels next Friday night at Jardine Stadium. Cass, a bit of a Cinderella story this postseason, defeated the Mays Raiders Friday after toppling the #1-seed Kell Longhorns the previous week. The Colonels would love to continue their improbable run through the postseason but Coffee has no plans to be a gracious host the day after Thanksgiving. DouglasNow will release more information regarding kick-off once game time is announced.
- Coffee beats Cartersville for 14th win, headed to the state title game
- Freshman Trojans made their own history with undefeated season
- For the third time in four years, Coffee faces Cartersville on the road in the postseason
- Coffee faces Cartersville in semifinals, no school on Friday
- Lucky number 13: Trojans improve to 13-0 with 30-0 win over Cass Colonels in quarterfinals