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Canes cruise into Final Four; Cass playoff run halted by top-ranked Coffee

November 25, 2023

The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes and the Coffee Trojans will go head-to-head next week at Weinman Stadium following their state quarterfinal wins on Friday night.

The Canes cruised to a 35-0 home win over Jenkins of Savannah while the host Trojans shut out Cass in Douglas.


~~ Kevin Pate / WBHF Sports contributed to this report.

Richard Houston

The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes reached the Final Four of the Class 5A GHSA football playoffs on Friday night, securing a 35-0 victory over the visiting Jenkins Warriors.

Cartersville started the scoring on its opening possession. The Canes marched 65 yards to the end zone with Khristian Lando finishing off the drive with a touchdown run. 

In the early moments of the second quarter, Lando culminated another Cartersville drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge. Then late in the second quarter, Andrew Purdy contributed a 43-yard touchdown run, building the Canes a 21-0 lead at halftime. 

The Cartersville defense performed admirably throughout forcing Jenkins to punt on every first-half possession. In contrast, the Cartersville offense effectively ran the football from the beginning.

(L-R) Nate Russell and Malichi Toliver; Luke McBride; Andrew Purdy; and Cole Crawford.)

Cartersville continued their scoring momentum in the third quarter. Richard Houston added a 1-yard scoring run and Nate Russell connected with Kendrick Price for a 30-yard touchdown strike. Those two touchdowns, along with the Ryan Johnson PAT kicks, extended the Hurricanes’ advantage to 35-0 and completed the scoring.

With a running clock in the fourth quarter, Cartersville comfortably advanced to the state semifinals. The Canes will host the top-ranked Coffee Trojans next Friday night at Weinman Stadium.

The other Class 5A semifinal will feature No. 3 Jefferson at No. 2 Creekside.


Charles Wilson /

Brodie McWhorter and Devin Henderson

The Cass Colonels had their 2023 playoff run come to a close on the road Friday night with a 30-0 loss at top-ranked Coffee.

The Trojans’ defense, which has not allowed more than 14 points in a game all season, earned its sixth shutout with a “bend-but-don’t break” effort.  The Colonels had some offensive success between the 20s, but Coffee kept Cass off the scoreboard for the night.

A frustrating night for the Cass offense saw the Colonels drive into plus territory (across the 50-yard line) on five of eight possessions. Of those five drives, Cass reached inside the Coffee 35-yard line four times with two drives reaching the red zone. Yet the Colonels were shut out for the first time since their season-opener at Rome in the Corky Kell Classic.

Coffee star runningback Fred Brown (the state's leading rusher in Class 5A, now at 2,099 yards) collected the bulk of the Trojans’ yardage with multiple power runs. He added an occasional chunk play including a 51-yard rumble late in the third quarter and finished with 173 yards and a touchdown. Each time the Trojans scored, Brown yielded the touchdown run to teammate Tyrese Hansley who scored three times on runs of 2-, 3-, and 13 yards.

A Cass defensive stop on a 4th-and-goal play at the 1-yard line ultimately turned into the first points of the night for the Trojans. 

On the Colonels’ first down, a direct snap play to Devin Henderson from their own 1-yard line, the Cass senior was tackled before he could escape his own end zone and the safety gave Coffee a 2-0 lead with 6:33 remaining in the first quarter.

Following the ensuing free kick by Cass, the Trojans started with a short field at the Cass 38-yard line. Coffee struck quickly with quarterback Maurice Hansley connecting with Pat McCall for a 32-yard touchdown that gave Coffee a 9-0 lead with 4:26 left in the first period.

Cass stormed back down the field with their next possession but a Brodie McWhorter pass was picked off by Coffee’s Tyno Edwards inside the 10-yard line. His electric interception return to the Cass 9-yard line set up the Trojans’ next score.

Three plays later, Tyrese Hansley punched in a 2-yard run for a 16-0 Coffee lead.

The two teams traded possessions for the remainder of the half giving the Trojans a two-score lead at the intermission.

In the second half, the Colonels were again able to move the ball between the 20-yard lines, but were repeatedly stopped once they neared scoring position.

Meanwhile, the Trojans leaned heavily on their rushing attack led by Brown, the state’s leading rusher in Class 5A. He was occasionally relieved by Hansley including a pair of touchdown runs with 4:10 and 0:16 left in the third quarter.

With Coffee up 30-0 to begin the fourth quarter, the game became a “running clock” for the fourth quarter.

Cass had one final long drive in the fourth quarter that included a fake punt and pass from McWhorter to Sacovie White, but turned the ball over on downs in the final minute inside the red zone.

Coffee remained unbeaten on the season at 13-0 and will make the trip to Weinman Stadium next Friday to take on the Cartersville Hurricanes (13-0) in the state semifinals.

Cass had its season come to an end with a 7-6 mark and its first return trip to the state quarterfinals in 40 years.

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