Trojans Hold On to Defeat Ware County, 21-14

Trojans Hold On to Defeat Ware County, 21-14

The Ware County Gators showed much improvement Friday night in Douglas as they battled Coffee County toe to toe in the annual Border War game. With the game tied 14-14, Coffee intercepted a ball that resuled in the game winning drive. The Coffee victory was just their fifth over the Gators in the last 17 years. The Gators will return to the Swamp next Friday night to take on Grady High School. Kick off is set for 7:30.

Advance discounted tickets for Friday's game can be purchased for $7 at the High School ticket office, the Central Board Office, First Southern Bank, J Green and Company Jewelers and Waycross Bank and trust. Tickets can also be purchased ONLINE by clicking here. Digital Tickets can downloaded to your smart phones or printed out.

 

*Special Thanks to Rick Head and the Waycross Journal Herald for sharing the story regarding the game with us.

By RICK HEAD
Sports Editor
 
DOUGLAS — Coffee High quarterback Wade Sumner's six-yard run with 2:42 to play proved to be the difference in keeping Ware County winless here Thursday night at Jardine Stadium.
The Trojans (3-0), who entered with a composite ranking of No. 3 in Class AAAAAA, drove 63 yards for the game-winning score in a 21-14 Border War victory. 
The loss dropped the Gators' mark to 0-2, its worst mark after two weeks since the 1995 season. It's also the first time head coach Franklin Stephens has started 0-2 in his 11-year coaching career.
 
Ware County will play in the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium next Friday when Grady of Atlanta visits in the home opener.
Turnovers and penalties once again proved costly. Ware County committed three turnovers (two interceptions, fumble) for the second straight week. The Gators' defense was flagged twice during the eventual game-winning drive.
 
"This was a heckuva high school game," said Stephens. "It was not a classic by any stretch. Turnovers hurt us again having three for the second straight game. The thing that I'm most proud of though is the effort we gave.
 
"We also got better and that came after a good week of practice. That shows me we're moving in the right direction. We're closer to being a good football team than we were last week. We've just got to continue to climb the ladder each week because we're in a marathon." Stephens said some people may not want to accept that fact.
 
"I'm disappointed that we did not win," said Stephens. "I want the players to hurt so they will go back to work. This was a big game for us. Had we won I would be saying the same thing.
 
"Our schedule is tough and we want to win every game. We're going to continue improving as coaches, players and as a program. We can't have tunnel vision."
Ware County's defensive unit made big strides holding the Trojans 11 points below their two-game season average of 32 points. The Gators forced six punts over 11 Coffee High possessions. Leading rusher Jameon Gaskin, who was averaging nearly 160 yards per game with five touchdowns, gained just 50 yards on 15 tries with a touchdown.
"We addressed some things after the first game," Stephens said. "The defensive coaches had a game plan and for the most part executed it against a good Coffee team. They (Trojans) had the size advantage on us, but we lined up and played. I like what I saw."
 
Offensively for the Gators, six of their 12 possessions ended with three-and-outs. Three ended with turnovers, two went the distance and another was stopped on downs.
The running game garnered just 93 yards. Raja Bradley (five carries, 61 yards) picked up 55 of those yards on one play. Quarterback Jeremiah O'Hara had some success through the air completing 11-of-20 passes for 120 yards. Most of his completions came in the screen game.
Ware County missed a scoring opportunity on its third offensive series of the night. Beginning at the Coffee 43, the Gators reached the 17 in three plays with O'Hara's 18-yard screen pass to Jordan Turner (five catches, 35 yards) the key play. Three consecutive incompletions followed a one-yard loss on first down.
Coffee responded by moving 82 yards in eight plays for the first score of the night. Sumner (17-of-28, 223 yards) completed 3-of-5 attempts in the drive, the last an eight-yarder to Raekwon Burch with 58 seconds remaining in the period. Ernest Jones stormed through to block the PAT.
The next time the Trojans had the ball, they would reach the Ware County two. A goal line stand by the Gators' defense forced a 24-yard field goal attempt which sailed wide left with nine minutes on the clock.
 
Ware County's first turnover of the night came on the ensuing drive. After Bradley ripped off a 55-yard gainer to the Trojans' 25, Coffee's defense came up with an interception. Gaskin tipped O'Hara's attempt on a screen with nose guard Jordan Knight making a diving interception.
 
Following a three-and-out by Coffee, an 11-yard punt set the Gators up on a 38-yard field. Dream Gainer (three carries, 40 yards) took an option pitch around the right side for a 33-yard gain on first down. Bradley plowed two yards before O'Hara connected with Acy Paulk on a three-yard score. Robert Jacobs booted the PAT giving the Gators a 7-6 lead with 3:34 left in the opening half.
 
Ware County was unable to capitalize on a big defensive stop to start the third quarter. The Trojans reached midfield and faced a second-and-two. Three running plays netted one yard.
The Gators went three-and-out with Coffee following with a 10-play, 84-yard drive consuming 4:46 of the clock. Sumner completed all five pass attempts throwing a 26-yard jump ball to Dalrone Donaldson for the score with 2:01 showing on the third quarter clock. The pair hooked up on the two-point conversion for a 14-7 Trojan lead.
After an exchange of punts on a pair of series that spilled over into the final period, the Gators put together a four-play, 64-yard game-tying drive. Ware County overcame a penalty on the first snap with a 60-yard screen pass from O'Hara to Bradley (two receptions, 62 yards) moving the ball to the Coffee 12.
After a second screen to Turner netted two yards, O'Hara lost two yards on a quarterback draw. Following a timeout, O'Hara found tight end Tre Cobb wide open at the goal line to close the gap to 14-13. Jacobs' PAT tied the game with 9:26 to play.
 
A second interception near midfield on Ware's next offensive series set up the game-winning score. A holding penalty went against the Gators on one pass play and a pass interference on a third down play kept the drive alive. Sumner eventually scored racing around left end on a designed quarterback run.
Ware County's final chance ended with a fumble on a quarterback sack with 1:18 remaining in the game.

* All Pictures are provided by former Alumni and Gator Football Player Bo Carter. Click here to see Bo's Pictures of Ware County Student Athletes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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