While Jason Coffman went through his final preparations for Carthage’s Section 3 Class A football title game versus Auburn last Friday, he took a break to call his mom and wish her a happy birthday.
He admitted he forgot to do so in the morning so it became a priority that afternoon.
Sally Coffman-Bowie answered the phone and replied to her oldest son’s well-wishes with a question then an order: “What are you doing worrying about my birthday?” she asked. “You worry about your football game.”
She is in no way a stranger to Friday night lights and all the preparation that goes into it, especially if the season reaches November. For the past 40 plus years, Sally Coffman-Bowie has watched from the stands as her late husband Terry Coffman, followed by her sons Jason and Josh have found success in local sports. For her sons, their success began as athletes but comes now as coaches.
Last weekend, in the Carrier Dome, she enjoyed the rare opportunity to celebrate with her boys twice, first after Jason’s Carthage team defeated Auburn 55-7 Friday evening then again the next day when Josh’s Lowville team smacked Cato-Meridian 41-6, as each son won section titles.
“My mom, I’m pretty sure she was the most nervous person in the Dome today,” Josh said following the Red Raiders’ Class C championship victory Saturday afternoon. “She just gets so excited about it and for (Jason) and I both to win, and for me to stay one ahead of him.”
Josh threw that last part in as a joke even though it’s true, this is the second sectional championship as head coach for the younger Coffman, he had won his first for Lowville in 2016. But, it in no way takes away from how proud he is of his older brother.
“Him in his first year is just unreal,” Josh said. “I’ve always hung my hat on that my dad had won one in his eighth year, Sam (Millich) won one in his eighth year and I won one in my seventh year. But now I can’t talk about that anymore.
“I’m so proud of him and I’m so excited for the opportunity that he’s gotten this year.”
Jason expressed a similar sentiment.
“I just said congratulations, he worked hard with this group and has a great group of athletes, let’s keep it going,” Jason said.
Each brother was in attendance for the other’s victory and have supported each other’s programs throughout the season. The two teams have practiced together on some occasions and scrimmage each other the week before the season’s opening game.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jason and Josh are competitive individuals. “It’s a good challenge for us, neither of us wants to be the one to lose,” Jason said.
Right now Lowville, sitting at 10-0, is one up on the Comets, who are 9-1. But both teams have a real shot a state title.
As the Carrier Dome cleared Friday night and its staff prepared for Saturday’s large slate of games, Jason Coffman remained on the field, talking to his coaches and family.
“To be out here and to accept a sectional championship, just like my brother did at Lowville, just like my dad did at Carthage, just like Sam Millich did at Carthage, it’s awesome,” Jason said. “Especially in my first year. They don’t give these out, they don’t give them to you for free, you have to earn these and this team earned it.”
In two-and-a-half weeks both Coffmans could be back at the Dome, this time looking to earn that state championship banner — the first for either school.