July 10, 2019

PHS Football Alum Coffee Thrived in the Trenches As West Fell in Sunshine Game Shortened by Storms

STRONG COFFEE: Recently graduated Princeton High standout Connor Coffee, center, makes a block playing for the West squad in the 2019 Sunshine Football Classic at Notre Dame High last Wednesday evening.Coffee was joined on the West team by PHS teammates Jaylen Johnson, Evan Angelucci, and Steve Hennessy. The quartet battled hard as the West fell 14-7 to the East in game halted in the third quarter due to lightning strikes in the area. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Seven of the offensive linemen on the West squad in the 2019 Sunshine Football Classic had an average weight of 266 pounds.

The eighth lineman, recently graduated Princeton High star Connor Coffee, was listed at 6’1, 180 pounds.

Playing in the all-star game last Wednesday night at Notre Dame High, the wiry Coffee battled hard at left tackle, more than holding his own against the heavyweights he encountered in the trenches.

“Not many can play tackle at 180, I was going against big boys in practice,” said a smiling Coffee. “The Ewing end was working me all week; I got prepared for the game.”

Coffee has enjoyed the challenge of thwarting larger foes over the years. “I have played undersized my whole football career,” said Coffee.

“I have to use my quickness, use my hands, and focus more on technique than just raw skill.”

Unfortunately for Coffee, his career ended on a frustrating note as the West fell 14-7 to the East in the game that saw a delay starting with 6:29 left in the second quarter due to lightning in the area and was then halted for good midway through the third quarter as more stormy weather approached.

“We didn’t get to finish the game; we put in a lot of hard work so it hurts,” said Coffee.

For Coffee, working hard in practice against former opponents proved to be worthwhile.

“It was a lot of good work,” said Coffee. “It was full speed, pedal to the medal all week. It was nice playing with guys that we had played against for years and ball out.”

Getting to play with PHS teammates Jaylen Johnson, Evan Angelucci, and Steve Hennessy on the West squad was a bonus for Coffee.

“It was great getting to do it one more time,” said Coffee. “I played all four years with those guys so to put the helmet on one note time with them was a great feeling.”

While Coffee’s football finale was abbreviated, he is leaving with a bunch of fond memories from the Sunshine game.

“It was a great experience, even just playing a half,” said Coffee, who is headed to the University of Miami, where he will not be playing football.

“It was a great time and obviously it is for a good cause. I was glad to do that for the Sunshine Foundation. I enjoyed it.”