Tifton Gazette


September 29, 2012

Coffee plays lights out in 24-7 win over Tift

TIFTON — The Tift County Blue Devils came across a hot Coffee High Trojans team Friday night and came home on the short of the stick in a 24-7 loss to begin the Devils’ Region 1-AAAAAA football schedule.

Coffee dominated throughout most of the game. The only thing that seemed to slow down the Trojans was a long delay in the third quarter due to a power outtage that knocked out of part of Jardine Stadium’s lighting system.

After winning the toss and deferring to the second half, the Blue Devils pinned Coffee deep with the opening kickoff back to the 13. Coffee was held three-and-out, forcing a punt. Ryan Bennett's punt looked to have Tift in good field position near midfield, but the ball slipped through Gerald Pledger's hands, giving the Trojans new life at the Devils' 47.

Coffee wasted little time with this new opportunity. Runs by Orlando Ingram, Keegan McGovern, Lacarvius Sears and a seven-yard completion by McGovern set the Trojans up inside Tift's 15. Tavish Douglas would then reel off a 12-yard run down to the Devils' one where he fumbled, but caught a lucky break when he landed on it. Sears then completed the scoring drive with a one-yard run. Coffee set up to kick the extra point, but the Devils lined up offsides and the Trojans decided instead to go for two. Sears ran in the conversion and gave Coffee a 8-0 lead with 6:02 in the first.

Neither team was able to make any headway on the next two possessions, but Tift was able to pick up some momentum to end the first half when Chase Cottle gave the Devils their first first down with a minute to go. However, Tift was forced to punt three plays later.

A booming punt by Mason Gann drove Coffee back to its own 19, but shortly after Sears was able to nose out a Trojan first down, Santory Long broke loose for 68 yards before being pushed out of bounds by Pledger at the 2-yard-line. Sears ran the final two yards on the next play. Tyler Chambers extra point kick was good, boosting Coffee's lead to 15-0 at 8:50 in the second quarter.

Tift would spend the rest of the half plagued by penalties. Their next offensive possession saw the Devils flagged for a personal foul after Wedgeworth completed an 8-yard pass to Jacori McCoy. Tift would not be able to climb out the hole dug by the flag and then would be flagged again for a delay on the initial punt attempt.

Coffee saw Sears rip another 16-yard gain on the next possession, but Keegan McGovern would be dropped for an 8-yard loss on a rush attempt and the Trojans could not regain momentum. Unfortunately, Tift could not take advantage and lost two yards on their next possession and had to punt again.

The Trojans received the ball at their own 37 with 1:16 remaining in the half and methodically began driving down the field. McGovern, who had only passed for seven yards, connected on five straight attempts, taking his team all the way down to Tift's 11, where they lined up for a field goal attempt with 19 seconds remaining. The snap would go awry on the attempt, but Tift was flagged for a personal foul, giving Coffee another chance. This time, the snap was perfect and Chambers nailed a 32-yard field goal to close out the half, giving the Trojans an 18-0 lead.

Rashad Daniels, who came into the game with 799 yards on the year for Tift, had only 7 rushing yards at the half.

After receiving the second half kickoff, Daniels gave the Devils their second first down of the night on the first play the half. Two plays later, Daniels was tackled for negative yards and suddenly a bank of lights on the visiting side and part of the pressbox went out. Play was halted for 25 minutes while Coffee personnel and officials worked on a solution. When it was determined the lights were not going to come back on, lighting was improvised from the baseball field and the game was resumed. Tift unfortunately could not gain any momentum and had to punt.

Coffee would go three and out and the Devils looked to be finding a rhythm when quarterback Ryan Wedgeworth was stripped of the ball and the Trojans' Bryant Wilson would recover. Coffee then turned to a one-two punch of Tavish Douglas and Sears who ripped off chunks of yardage, taking CHS from their own 42 to the Tift 27. Sears then burst up the middle, breaking several tackles in his scoring effort. Chambers would add the extra point and Coffee took a 24-0 lead into the final quarter.

The Devils found the going just as tough in the fourth quarter and traded a pair of punts with the Trojans. Pledger took the final Coffee kick to the Devils' 44 but a personal foul penalty tacked on 15 more and gave Tift good field position at the the Trojan 41. Two plays later, Austin McCant reeled off a 21-yard run at 1:50 to give the Devils their first points of the night. Frankie Mejia tacked on the extra point and narrowed the gap to 24-7.

That would be the last offensive action of the game as Coffee decided to take no chances and kneeled down on the ball to run the clock out.

Coffee was led by Sears, who had all three Trojan scores and 62 yards rushing. McGovern had 86 through the air, completing 6 of 8 passes.

Tift County had a tough time against a stellar Coffee defensive effort. The Devils were held to 99 total yards. Rashad Daniels had nearly have of the offense's output with 41 of his team's 79 rush yards, McCant adding 30 more yards on four carries. Miller went 1-2 passing with 15 yards.

Tift will host Colquitt next week at Brodie Field. The Packers of Colquitt fell 17-14 agianst the Lowndes High Vikings Friday to open their league schedule.


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