Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

December 8, 2012

Pack can't find a way to rally against Norcross

MOULTRIE — Colquitt County’s come-from-behind magic disappeared at Blue Devil Stadium in Norcross on Friday and for the third time in the last four seasons, the Packers came up one victory short of playing for a state championship.

Colquitt took a five-game winning streak into the semifnal against the unbeaten Blue Devils and had to rally from deficits in each one.

The last four game against playoff teams: Camden County in the regular-season finale and McEachern, Newnan and Parkview in the playoffs.

The Packers found themselves down 14-0 early in the second quarter, but then got a short touchdown run from John Boatwright to pull to within seven with 5:10 left in the half.

Norcross then scored the next 10 points of the game in a four-minute span and the Packers were never closer than 14 the rest of the night.

“We knew we would have to survive the third quarter to get to the fourth quarter,” Norcross coach Keith Maloof told The Gwinnett Daily Post.

“If we could get to the fourth quarter with a two-score lead, we knew we had a great shot at winning this thing.”

The last time Colquitt County pulled to within 14 was on a 9-yard Daniel Mobley-to-Bobby Hill touchdown pass with 11:55 remaining in the game.

Colquitt then forced Norcross to punt away its next possession, but the Packers were penalized 15 yards for roughing the Blue Devils punter.

Packers coach Rush Propst said he thought the call should have been running into the kicker, which would have been a five-yard penalty.

Since the Blue Devils were facing a fourth-and-16, they would have had to punt again, rather than getting an automatic first down.

"I thought that was the best-called game we had all year," Propst said. "Except that was a major miss. We get the ball back there and we've got momentum."

Five plays — and two more Packer penalities, one for unsportsmanlike conduct — later, and Norcross had scored again and the lead was too big to catch.

"I'm proud of our team," Propst said. "Proud of our seniors. We knew we had to play a perfect game. And we didn't."

Propst said there were five crucial plays that turned the game around, starting with the 63-yard touchdown pass that gave the Blue Devils a 7-0 first-quarter lead.

"It was a route we knew they'd throw," he said. "We just got confused and screwed it up."

The scoop-and-score fumble recovery that made it 14-0 was another key play. An overthrow to a wide open Bobby Hill and a drop of a potential touchdown pass also were crucial plays.

The roughing the punter penalty was the other, Propst said.

It was not as if the Packers did not know what to expect from the Blue Devils, having fallen to them 33-31 in an August scrimmage.

Senior running back Alvin Kamara was the difference in August and he was the difference again on Friday.

Kamara rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns in the scrimmage and he was nearly as lethal on Friday.

Although the Packers held him in check much of the game, he still rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown; caught two passes for 74 yards and a 65-yard touchdown; and he returned a kickoff 65 yards.

But Kamara was not a one-man band.

Quarterback Joseph Wilber was 8-for-14 for 211 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 3-yard score after the roughing the kicker penalty.

"Their play-action hurt us," Propst said.

And while Kamara was helping lead the Blue Devils to 184 yards on the ground, the Packers managed just 78.

"We couldn't run the football," Propst said.

The Packers quarterback duo of Cole Segraves and Daniel Mobley combined to to complete 23-of-37 passes for 219 yards, but yards were hard to come by.

Kevin Mauhon led the Norcross defense with eight tackles and a sack. JaQuan Simpkins had seven tackles and Tommy Tate has six.

Michael Marshall had two sacks.

The Packers turned the ball over just one time, but it was a fumble that the Blue Devils’ Brandon Garner returned 22 yards for a touchdown.

Colquitt recovered a pair of Norcross fumbles, but was unable to generate any points out of either of them.

"We didn't play bad," Propst said. "We just didn't play good."

The Packers were turned away from a berth in the state championship game for the third time in four years.

Colquitt now has had its season ended by a Gwinnett County team three straight years: by Brookwood in the 2010 state championship game and by Grayson and Norcross the last two seasons.

Norcross now will head to state championship game for the first time in school history when it meets Lovejoy at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Georgia Dome.

The Wildcats advanced with a 63-42 victory over North Cobb.

The Wildcats advanced with a 63-42 victory over North Cobb.

Ironically, Colquitt County has faced both of the Class AAAAAA finalist.

The Packers defeated Lovejoy 14-7 early in the season in Moultrie.

The Packers finish 10-4.

NOTES: Hill finished his record-setting career with 84 catches for 1,115 yards this season. Both rank No. 2 in the Packers all-time season receiving lists.

Hill also ends his career as the Packers all-time leading receiver with 121 receptions for 1,706 yards, supplanting Tommy Hudson atop both of those rankings.

His 15 career touchdown receptions tie him with Hudson for No. 2 on the list behind Carlos “Butterbean” Johnson, who had 21 from 1994-1996.

Segraves finished the season with 2,236 passing yards, second-most in Packer history behind the 3,358 Tyler Brown threw for in 2010.

His 4,351 career passing yards rank him third all-time behind Tyler Brown, who threw for 6,197 in 2008-2010 and Reggie Stancil, who threw or 4,376 in 1995-1997.

Propst is now 221-83 in his career and 45-22 in five years with the Packers.


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