Bringing Positivity as PHS Football Co-Captain, Coffee Excited to Compete in Sunshine Game
By Bill Alden
Although the Princeton High football team took its lumps in 2017 as it went 0-10, Connor Coffee saw a special camaraderie that boded well for the future.
“We had a bunch of injuries to start the year; we lost our quarterback [Vince Doran] on the first snap,” said PHS lineman Coffee.
“We were dealing with a lot of adversity through the year. We stuck through it, we were just giving it our all. We were a tight group, we all got along.”
Serving as a co-captain last fall in his senior season, Coffee sought to utilize that togetherness as the Tigers aimed to get back into the win column.
“Seeing all of those losing seasons that we went through, when I was elected captain, I was determined to bring positivity to the locker room,” said the 6’1, 180-pound Coffee, who played offensive tackle and defensive end. “I wanted to bring an upbeat culture and just try and turn it around.”
Starring in the trenches, Coffee helped PHS enjoy a positive fall that saw the program snap its 21-game losing streak with a 21-14 win over Cherry Hill East in late September and go on to a 2-8 campaign.
In recognition of his leadership together with his excellence on both sides of the ball, Coffee has been selected to play for the West squad in the 22nd Sunshine Football Classic, which is taking place on July 2 at Notre Dame High.
“I am just really excited to play with some really good football players there,” said Coffee, reflecting on being chosen to play in the all-star contest. “I am excited to go out there and compete and do my best.”
Coffee and his teammates were excited to break through with win over Cherry Hill East.
“We were hungry, all summer we talked about changing things so when one play goes wrong in the game to not let everything unravel and stick with it,” said Coffee.
“Coming into the game we had a really good week of practice. We were really focused and ready to go. They scored on a 40-yard TD but we stayed positive and we didn’t let it get to us. We went down and scored on that next drive and right there we knew we could win the game. We knew we were in it and we came out victorious.”
Two weeks later, PHS came out victorious again as it rallied to edge West Windsor-Plainsboro 22-19.
“We were down in that game,” recalled Coffee. “We used that new mentality that we had and we just grinded it out.”
Going out by playing in the Sunshine game is special for Coffee. “The last couple of years I have been looking up at all of our guys who have gotten to play in the game so it is something I have wanted to do,” said Coffee.
“I always wanted to be selected for it, so I was honored when I got the letter in the mail saying I was going to play.”
With PHS teammates Jaylen Johnson, Evan Angelucci, and co-captain Steve Hennessy also having been selected to play in the contest, Coffee is looking forward to taking the field one final time with those guys.
“I am definitely excited to go out with Jaylen, Evan and Steve; we are really good friends, they are my brothers,” added Coffee, who is headed to the University of Miami and won’t be playing football there.
“Getting to play with the guys one more and get to go out on the field with them one more time is really exciting. It is huge, going out there representing Princeton and showing what we are all about.”