Facing a season opener against visitor from the state’s most storied region, Whitewater suffered greatly from its own miscues Friday night.
Coffee, hailing from Region 1-AAAAAA and coming off a 5-6 campaign in 2011, handed new coach Robby Pruitt a 41-3 win in his first game, getting a pair of touchdowns from senior running back George Johnson.
Coffee, which had eight different players carry the ball, outgained Whitewater 405-113. Keegan McGovern completed 8 of 13 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Timareion Simmons rushed for 67 yards on 10 carries and Johnson had 63 yards on nine attempts.
Whitewater quarterback Jay Ashley took a 20-yard sack on the game’s first play from scrimmage and the Wildcats were forced to punt. The Fayette County school appeared ready to overcome the negative play after forcing a turnover on Coffee’s first offensive play, a short pass from McGovern to Raquan Ross, who fumbled at the Coffee 43 and Whitewater recovered.
The Wildcats drove inside the Coffee 15 before an extra effort by sophomore running back Christian Wafford resulted in a fumble into the end zone, where Coffee’s C.J. Johnson recovered.
The school from deep south Georgia answered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Timareion Simmons’ 13-yard run at the 1:03 mark in the first period.
Coffee took advantage of another miscue for its second score. The Trojans forced Whitewater to punt, and the snap was high. Wildcat punter Austin Barnard escaped being tackled, but attempted a pass that fell incomplete, giving Coffee the ball on the Whitewater 28.
Eight plays later Coffee led 14-0 after George Johnson scored from a yard out.
Barnard’s 24-yard field goal made it 14-3, but Coffee shifted into the passing game, going 80 yards in six plays for a 21-3 lead. McGovern found Johnson wide open down the left side for a 41-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the first half.
Another Whitewater mistake helped Coffee put the game away. The Wildcats forced a punt on the first series of the third period, but returner Josh Alexander muffed the punt and Coffee recovered at the Wildcat 22. Four plays later Santory Long scored on an 8-yard run, and the rout was on.
Whitewater’s Kendall Conley rushed for 88 yards on 10 attempts.
Coffee 7 14 13 7 – 41
Whitewater 0 3 0 0 – 3
C – Tyree Paulk 13 run (Ishmael Gonzalez kick)
C – George Johnson 1 run (Gonzalez kick)
W – Fg Austin Barnard 24
C – Johnson 41 pass from Keegan McGovern (Gonzalez kick)
C – Santory Long 8 run (Gonzalez kick)
C – Orlando Ingram 34 run (kick failed)
C – Tavish Douglas 36 run (Gonzalez kick)