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The Coffee Trojans’ 2023 football campaign opened with a 20-16 win over the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes in Fitzgerald in a pre-season scrimmage.
The game was actually tale of two contests: The first quarter then quarters two through four. The junior varsity players took the field in the first quarter. Coffee took care of Fitzgerald 17-0 in that frame. Sophomore running back KJ DeBruce scored from 15 yards out. Tyrese Hansley found the end zone on a one-yard run to make it 14-0. Right at the end of the quarter, kicker Aidan Gonzalez split the uprights from 35 yards to put Coffee ahead 17-0.
When the second quarter began, the teams re-set the scoreboard to 0-0. It didn’t take long for Coffee to get on the board. Senior Pat McCall scored the Trojans’ first varsity points with a 65-yard run. The Purple Hurricanes blocked Gonzalez’s point-after, giving Coffee a 6-0. Not to be outdone, senior running back Fred Brown scored on a 68-yard run. This time, Gonzalez hit the extra point; with 8:16 left in the second quarter, the Trojans were up 13-0.
Coffee looked like it had a comfortable lead. But Fitzgerald had other plans. The Purple Hurricanes connected on a 57 yard touchdown pass but fumbled the snap on the extra point. After both teams fumbled on their ensuing possessions, Fitzgerald scored again on a two-yard run. The point-after was good and with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the score was tied 13-13.
In the second half, the Purple Hurricanes opened with a long drive that ended with a 23-yard field goal to take the lead 16-13 with 6:06 in the quarter. When the Trojans got the ball back, they played with a sense of urgency and answered quickly. Brown gathered big chunks of yardage and took the ball downfield, dragging a slew of ‘Canes with him as he went. He got Coffee to the five yard line then quarterback Maurice Hansley took it from there. He scored the final points of the game himself and put the Trojans up 20-16.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter and Coffee slipped out of Fitzgerald with a win. “We’ve got a long way to go but this will make us better. We fought through adversity. I love the guys we got. We’ve got a great staff and great kids,” said head coach Mike Coe after the game.
The Trojans will be off this week. They’ll return to action on Friday, August 18, when Tift County comes to town. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30.
- 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
- Trojans and the Colonels face off at Jardine Stadium with history on the line
- Tyreek Hill surpasses 1,200 receiving in 10 games