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December 3, 2010
Coates earns MVP, Leroy wins 2A title
Yet another Auburn commit has a new piece of jewelry to wear on his finger.
Sammie Coates of Leroy High School helped his team win the AHSAA 2A state title over Reeltown 34-7 Friday evening.
Coates was named the game MVP for his performance that included two touchdown catches (22 yards and 12 yards) and a 6-yard scoring run.
The 6-foot-3 multitalented receiver caught for 60 yards off five catches, rushed for 27 yards off six carries, punted twice for 63 yards and returned a punt for five yards.
The victory gives Leroy High its fifth state championship since 2004. The Bears had a three-year state championship streak (2006-08) while Reeltown won last year's title. Leroy is now 5-1 all-time in AHSAA championship games.
The Bears held Reeltown to 248 yards of offense, 175 yards of which were rushed. The Rebels' sole score was a Milton Chambliss-to-Anthony McKeithen 36-yard pass.
Defensive lineman Daniel Gilpin had nine tackles and a team-high two sacks for the Leroy defense. Reeltown came into the game averaging 35 points per game in the four playoffs games, but was limited to one score tonight.
Leroy put up 297 yards of offense with 143 yards coming in the passing game led by junior quarterback William Gartman.
Head coach Danny Powell said he never has a game script and usually doesn't even know what his offense's first play will be, but the goal of the team is to get the ball to his big-time athletes in space.
"If you've got the job where you've got to try to tackle Sammie Coates or (senior receiver) Justin Besteda over and over again, you're just not going to win all those battles," Powell said. "Because they're great players. If we can get them the ball and a little space in them, we know they're going to make some great plays. They'll get tackled sometimes, but they're going to make enough plays where we feel like we can come out ahead."
Besteda accounted for 103 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears. He ran the ball nine times for 70 yards and scored on runs of 1-yard and 20-yards. He also caught two passes for 33 yards.
Coates, who is anticipated to be a wide receiver at Auburn next year, is now the second Auburn commit to earn MVP honors for his role in a Super Six game. The other was Chris Landrum who helped Sweet Water win the 1A title 36-0 over R.A. Hubbard.
When asked if Auburn fans can expect three-touchdown performances in the future while he wears orange and blue, Coates smiled and gave a quick response.
"I hope so," he said.