High School Sports

Warner Robins cools off Coffee with a thrilling win

Warner Robins’ Jaeven West (1) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during their game against Coffee Friday night.
Warner Robins’ Jaeven West (1) dives into the end zone for a touchdown during their game against Coffee Friday night. jvorhees@macon.com

In a game that featured big swings of momentum, Warner Robins found a way to put a game-winning drive together late in the fourth quarter and outlast Coffee 52-49 on Friday at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.

Eli Mashburn was the final hero with a last-second 36-yard field goal for the game-winner.

The Trojans (3-2) led by 13 late in the second quarter only to see Warner Robins (6-0) reel off 35 unanswered points, thanks to three Coffee fumbles in the third quarter alone.

With the momentum firmly on the Demons’ sideline, Coffee got one score back on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Wade Sumner to Dalrone Donaldson, but the big receiver wasn’t done. After a 3-yard Jameon Gaskin touchdown run, Donaldson hauled in his third touchdown catch of the night by tipping it to himself from 19 yards out with 2:32 to go. Sumner’s cut-back run was good for the conversion to tie the game at 49 and set up the decisive drive.

After his team took over on its own 18 with 2:27 to go, Warner Robins quarterback Dylan Fromm hooked up with Jaylon Norman on two crucial receptions to move the ball inside the Coffee 39. Faced with a fourth-and-9 from the 38, Warner Robins gambled, and Fromm went right back to Norman for 14 yards to put Mashburn in field goal range.

Four who mattered

Fromm: Despite two first-half interceptions, Fromm was clutch when the junior was needed most. He converted numerous third downs with both his arm and legs, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another.

Donaldson: Coffee’s big senior receiver was a matchup nightmare on the outside for the Demons. Donaldson hauled in touchdown catches of 50, 24 and 19 yards.

Jarius Burnette: Although he appeared to get banged up late, Burnette punished Trojans defenders all night with a physical rushing style that seemed wear down Coffee in the second half.

Mashburn: Along with game-winning field goal, Mashburn was a perfect 7-for-7 on extra point attempts.

Turning point

Although Warner Robins lost the lead in the fourth quarter, Burnette’s 1-yard touchdown late in the first half gave the Demons the momentum they carried into the third quarter after surrendering 14 points in a span of just 15 seconds.

Worth mentioning

It’s not over until it’s over: Even after the field goal with just seconds remaining, Coffee tried to save itself on a play that immediately brought back memories of the infamous Stanford-California band play. The Trojans lateraled six times and moved the ball from the left sideline all the way to the right with seemingly a wall of blockers ahead until the ball hit the turf and went out of bounds in Warner Robins territory to end the game.

They said it

Warner Robins head coach Mike Chastain on his decision to go for the fourth-and-9 on the decisive drive: “We were outside of field goal range, and we felt like that we wanted to play our chances of getting something out of (the drive). I didn’t want to punt it down and pin them deep. They had a lot of momentum going. (Donaldson) was a stud, and they were throwing it to him. I wanted to keep the ball in our guys’ hands.”

Chastain on the wild nature of the contest: “They don’t (come any wilder). They don’t. Momentum swung back-and-forth both ways. I don’t really know what to say. I’m just so thankful for these guys and how hard they work.

Chastain on the effectiveness of his offense: “I’m just so proud of our coaches. Our coaching staff put together a great plan against a really good team, and we put up 52 points. They were really good.”

What’s next?

Warner Robins opens GHSA Region 1-5A play Friday at Thomas County Central.

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