In Spencer’s highly-contested region game against Jordan Friday, Greenwave head coach Pierre Coffey decided he wouldn’t let the Red Jackets get the ball last.
Up 12-7 with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Greenwave faced a 4th-and-5 from their own 39-yard line. Spencer lined up in a punt formation with the perceived intent of leaving it up to the defense to frustrate a dangerous Jordan offense one final time.
Coffey, as it turns out, had something else in mind.
Upon catching the snap, punter Ameir Abrams took off to his left, where he was tackled well past the first-down marker. The play effectively ended a tight game in Kinnett Stadium and one Coffey knows could have gone the other way.
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“We were able to capitalize on that (fake punt),” Coffey said. “I told (Jordan head coach Justin Newman) he’s done an amazing job. They have played everybody hard.”
The 12-7 victory for Spencer (4-2, 1-0) over Jordan (1-5, 0-1) featured just enough offense for the Greenwave to roll to a win.
Terrell Gordon’s 1-yard touchdown run with 11:47 left in the second quarter got Spencer on the board for the first time, though the missed extra point left it trailing Jordan 7-6. Quarterback Dy’Javius Nathan registered the game-deciding score, pushing his way through on a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:16 left in the third quarter.
The Spencer offense held serve against Jordan in large part because of its strong defensive effort. Along with only surrendering seven points, the Greenwave defenders stymied Jordan’s last three offensive drives, which all got into Spencer territory before going out with a whimper.
The defensive effort was crucial for Spencer, especially considering its minus-2 turnover margin. The second turnover -- a muffed punt -- came one play before Jordan’s only score, quarterback Emmanuel Mann’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Junior Hill in the first quarter. Aside from those seven points given up on a short field, the Greenwave defense hardly flinched all night.
“Defensively, I thought we played extremely well,” Coffey said. “That was huge, and that started up front. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Though he didn’t find the end zone Friday, junior running back Karlton Williams was a major part of the Greenwave offense from start to finish. Williams piled up 26 carries and rushed for 141 yards against the Red Jackets. His biggest carries may have been his last, as he kept pile after pile moving to drain the clock and doom Jordan’s chances.
“It took heart, just straight will and the want to win,” Williams said. “It feels great to be able to play that part and just be able to help my team.”
Coffey praised his team, but he made it clear there was plenty of work to be done. He pointed out that there was too many dropped passes Friday, plus the number of yellow flags thrown were likely more than he was hoping for.
Coffey wants his Greenwave team to contend in Region 5-2A, and though the victory over the Red Jackets was the first step toward that goal, he knows it’s time to get back to work.
“I guess an ugly win is better than a pretty loss,” Coffey said. “We’re 1-0 in the region, and we move on to Temple next week.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports