Getting better as the season has progressed, the Bears have been a perennial powerhouse in 2A with four state titles in the last six years, including three in a row under the direction of quarterback Clint Moseley, a redshirt freshman for Auburn. Following a loss to 4A Jackson in week five, Leroy has scored at least 34 points in every game except in a 27-7 win over Sweet Water in the final regular season game of the year.
"It feels great to get to play on the field that I'm going to play on in the future," Coates says. "We're going to play against Reeltown. Everybody has been calling us out saying they wanted Leroy. Now everybody is getting their chance."
Going on the long road trip Friday to Tuscaloosa, Leroy jumped out to a 14-0 lead and survived a challenge from the Patriots before winning 34-16 to advance to the finals. Andrew Williams led the way with 185 yards on the ground while Coates contributed by running, receiving, kicking off and adding an interception in limited time on defense. He says his team has consistently gotten better all season and now they have one more game to go.
"We have been working hard," Coates tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I have been telling my team I was going to take us there and just to get on my back. Everybody stepped up. The offensive line played great. Andrew (Andrew Williams) has been killing it at running back. Justin Bestada has been playing with a hurt knee and he did good. We just came out and played hard together."
A standout at an Auburn summer camp, Coates committed soon after getting an offer from the Tigers and hasn't looked back since then. Concentrating on his goal of winning a state title, he says for him getting his decision out of the way was huge for him.
"It helped a lot," Coates says. "I didn't have any pressure on me once I committed. I just had to get out there and do what I do. It felt good."
Making his decision that much better has been watching Auburn's offense put up impressive numbers all season long under offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. One of the nation's best groups, the Tigers are on their way to the SEC title game in Atlanta this weekend and Coates says he's been paying close attention to his future team all year.
"They have been rolling," Coates says. "The offense has been stepping it up big time. I watched the game on the way to Tuscaloosa and it was a good one. I think I fit good in that offense."
The kickoff for Friday's 2A title game between Leroy and Reeltown is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Rebels feature Arkansas commitment Shaquille Roberson on a defense that has allowed a touchdown or less in eight games this season. Coates says he hopes to see a lot of orange and blue in the stands for Friday's game as Auburn fans heading to Atlanta stop in to see him in action.
"Just come support me," Coates says. "I'll put on a show."