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The 2023 season has been a historic one for the Coffee Trojans. And it's not over yet.
The list of notable achievements is staggering: First Coffee team to be ranked #1 in the state since 1976; first 12-0 season since 1982; third 12-win season in school history; second largest margin of victory in a playoff game in school history (56-0 over Chamblee); third home quarterfinal playoff game in program history; four straight shutouts over the Salem Seminoles; fifth region title in program history and the first since 2015; running back Fred Brown broke the single-season rushing record; and head coach Mike Coe is the only Coffee coach to win 10 or more games in each of his first two seasons.
The Trojans can add another impressive accomplishment if they can beat the Cass Colonels Friday night at Jardine Stadium: They can become the first Coffee team to win 13 games. Even though the Trojans have experienced an unprecendented run over the last decade, no Coffee team has won more than 10 games in a season over that span -- not even the 2017 team that played for a state title or the 2020 team that advanced to the semifinals before losing 24-17 to Cartersville.
To find a 12-win Trojan team you've got to go back to 1982. That team went 12-1, losing its quarterfinal game 29-18 against the Valdosta Wildcats in the now-infamous "fog game" at Jardine Stadium. During the game, fog rolled in and made it difficult to see the ball when it was in the air. The fog contributed to a fumbled punt that the Wildcats recovered deep in Coffee territory. Valdosta scored on the miscue and went on to win the game, and eventually, the state championship that year.
The previous year, Coffee also won 12 games. The Trojans finished 12-2; they lost their semifinal game 31-6 to Warner Robins on the road. Warner Robins also went on to win a state title after defeating Coffee.
So what are the Trojans facing Friday night? Cass, a #4 seed, is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1983. The Colonels advanced to the playoffs after drubbing Calhoun 52-29 in the final game of the season. Then Cass turned around and handled the #1 seed Kell Longhorns 28-14 in the first round. Their second round opponent, Mays, fell 17-7. Cass has a Georgia commit in wide receiver Sacovie White, listed as a 6'1", 175 four-star recruit. White has amassed over 1,200 receiving yards this season. The Colonels also have a 1,000 yard rusher in Devin Henderson and a dual-threat quarterback in sophomore Brodie McWhorter.
The Trojans, meanwhile, will rely on their bread-and-butter -- pound Cass's defense with running back Fred Brown, who now has 1,926 rushing yards this season, and then rely on the state's stingiest defense to keep the Colonels out of the end zone. Quarterback Maurice Hansley can throw the ball when he needs to -- he's 80 of 110 passes for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hansley has only thrown two interceptions and has a 132.2 quarterback rating. And when Brown gets tired -- which isn't very often -- junior running back Tyrese Hansley (608 yards, eight touchdowns) is more than capable of handling the ball-carrying duties. The Trojan defense has scored a touchdown in each of the last three weeks and forced four turnovers against Jones County (three interceptions and a fumble). Coffee turned each of the four turnovers into points.
Friday's game takes place at Jardine Stadium and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available.