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The Coffee Trojans' defense passed its first real test of the year a few weeks ago against the Ware County Gators with the region championship on the line. Friday night, they're going to get their second big test — and this time, it’s the season at stake.
On November 17, the Jones County Greyhounds make the two hour trip to Jardine Stadium for a second-round showdown with the Trojans. Coffee has had one of the best defenses in the state this year. And Jones County has a prolific offense that has the potential to cause significant problems for the Trojans.
Of course, people said the same thing about the Gators and Coffee gave up just five points in what turned into a brutal beatdown in the Swamp.
Jones County defeated Northside (Columbus) 42-21 last week. In the process, the Greyhound offense put up some impressive numbers. Junior quarterback Devin Edmonds, who has thrown for over 2,600 yards this season, completed 15 passes out of 18 for 302 yards and five touchdowns. Zion Ragins, Jones’s leading rusher, tallied 131 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Greyhounds relied on their passing game — they threw the ball 22 times compared to 13 rushes.
The Coffee defense, anchored by junior safety Isaiah Johnson (who has scored in each of the last two weeks — a backbreaking pick-six against Ware and a scoop-and-score on a fumble against Chamblee), won’t be impressed. The Gators were supposed to cause problems for the Trojans but they couldn’t maintain any momentum all night long.
The Trojans are fast, physical, and fearless. In addition to Johnson, Coffee has seen junior linebacker Chris Reed step up late in the season and deliver some bone-jarring hits recently. Reed led the Trojans in tackles against Chamblee with nine and added an interception as well. Mykevius Smith and Jatavious Williams were right behind Reed with five tackles apiece. Linebacker Jyarius Carter, who is leading the team in tackles, hasn’t been at full speed the last couple of weeks due to illness but he is healthy this week. And of course there are ends Lorenzo Harvey and Elgie Paulk who have terrorized opponents all season. Anthony Paulk and Jayden Hancock, also superb players, will have to lock down the secondary — which they’ve already done multiple times this year.
Offensively, the Trojans will rely on running back Fred Brown with help from Tyrese Hansley. Coffee has shown the ability to throw the ball when needed — but when you’ve got over 2,000 yards rushing between Brown and Hansley, there isn’t much of a need to put the ball in the air. However, the Trojans have some talented receivers and Maurice Hansley is an accurate passer when called upon. M. Hansley completed 10 of 14 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown last week. He came out of the game with a 133 QB rating.
Jones County comes out of a tough region and they’ve been tested this season. But now the Greyhounds have to face the #1 team in the state on the road. Coffee, meanwhile, has been steadily building momentum all year long and are peaking right when they need to.
Come to Jardine Stadium Friday night and see two of the best 5A teams in the state fight for the opportunity to play another week. Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m.