The Moultrie Observer
Colquitt County has faced some outstanding defenses this season, but offensive coordinator Jeff Hammond says the one the Packers will face on Friday might be the best.
Parkview, which will play host to the Packers at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Big Orange Jungle in Lilburn in a state quarterfinal game, has allowed an average of just over 14 points a game this season.
And the 9-3 Panthers have surrendered 30 points just once, in a 30-27 loss to Central Gwinnett.
“The strength of their football team is their defense,” Hammond said of Parkview, which uses a 3-3 stack defense. “They are very physical. And they’ve got as good a linebacking crew as we’ve seen all year.”
That group of linebackers is led by Kyle Williams, who leads the Panthers with 70 solo tackles and 37 assists. He also has six sacks.
John Patterson had 56 solos and 46 assists and four sacks.
Micah Finley has 46 solos and 17 assists and three sacks.
“They have an undersized nose that plays with a high motor and they run to the football,” Hammond said. “And they have that tradition. They know how to win in the playoffs.”
Parkview won state championships in 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
But since going 10-3 in 2005, the Panthers went 33-31 from 2006-2011, including records of 5-6 and 4-6 the last two years.
Head coach Cecil Flowe, who is in his 20th year as the Panthers head coach, knows how to get his teams ready for the postseason, Hammond said.
The Packers will counter with a program that is 12-3 overall and 10-2 on road in the playoffs over the last four seasons.
The Packers also have a hot quarterback running their spread offense.
Cole Segraves, who regained the starting job with two games left in the regular season, has led the Packers to four straight victories.
In the Packers playoff victories over McEachern and Newnan, Segraves has thrown for 619 yards.
“He is playing outstanding right now,” Hammond said of Segraves. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he’s letting the game come to him instead of forcing himself on the game.
“He’s prolonging plays, making great decisions. Cole plays well in November and December.”
But he is not the only offensive performer who has turned up his game in time for a state championship game run.
Todd Boyd has caught 10 passes for 255 yards the last two weeks, including a crucial fourth-down reception to keep the game-winning drive alive against Newnan.
He also had a 52-yard touchdown catch against McEachern.
“Todd is an under-the-radar kind of guy,” Hammond said. “But he’s starting to become our ‘next guy.’”
Previous “next guy’ receivers for the Packers have been Tommy Hudson, now at Chattanooga, who succeed Quin Roberson as the Packers go-to pass-catcher; Ty Smith, who followed Hudson; and Bobby Hill, who followed Smith.
“Todd has a chance to be very, very good,” Hammond said.
Hill continues to lead the Packers in receptions with 73 for 1,001 yards and remains the team’s most consistent threat.
Running back John Boatwright is coming off his most productive game, gaining 128 yards on 20 carries and scoring the winning touchdown against Newnan on a 19-yard run with 1:38 remaining.
“Somebody has to be the playmaker each week,” Hammond said. “You just don’t know who it is going into the game. And we’ve been getting big plays from different people.
“You just got to find who’s hot and ride him.”
Hammond said the Packers will have to play “real well” against a physical and opportunistic Parkview defense.
“And I don’t think we’ve played our best football game yet,” he said.
Another asset the Packers will take to the game on Friday will be its fans, Hammond said.
“We are going to need to get our crowd into it,” he said. “We have one of the best fan bases in the state. They travel well an that is a credit to this community.
“That’s what is important to this community. And when our fans are into the game, our kids play better. It’s like, we do it for them and they do it for us.”
PACKERS NOTES: According to Google Maps, the best way to Parkview is to take I-75 north to I-675 and head north toward I-285.
Get on I-285 East and go about 12 miles and take Exit 39B to merge onto U.S. 78 East toward Snellville/Athens.
Go 6.8 miles and take Exit 7 to Ga. 236 north/Hugh Howell Road toward Tucker. Go about a half-mile and turn right onto Lilburn/Stone Mountain Road and then go .2 of a mile an turn right on Old Stone Mountain Road.
Go 1.2 miles to Five Forks Trickum Road and take it 1.9 to Cole Drive Southwest.
Turn left on Cole Drive and the school will be on the right. ... The game will not be televised.