Moultrie Observer

Local Sports

August 26, 2013

Colquitt County-Hoover: Battle of top-ranked teams

MOULTRIE — Colquitt County’s 21-6 victory over Grayson on Saturday combined with Norcross’ stunning 55-0 loss to Booker T. Washington of Miami sets up a Friday night meeting between the top-ranked teams in highest classifications in Georgia and Alabama.

The Packers replace Norcross at the top of the Class AAAAAA poll and will put the ranking on the line when they travel to play at Hoover (Ala.) High.

While the place atop the poll in the state’s largest classification is first for Colquitt County since starting the 2006 season 5-0, Hoover is a fixture in that spot in Alabama.

The defending Class 6A Buccaneers went 15-0 last season, claiming the school’s seventh state championship since 2000.

Hoover won five state championships under current Packers coach Rush Propst in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Josh Niblett, Propst’s successor, won the 2009 and 2012 titles.

After running the table last year while rolling up 544 points and surrendering just 136  and pounding Opelika 31-0 in the state championship game, Hoover received all 34 first-place votes in the Alabama Sports Writer Association poll released earlier this month.

When Propst came to Moultrie in 2008, he was outspoken in saying that more than winning games, he wanted to develop a complete program.

The one he developed at Hoover, and which Niblett has continued, is one of best in the nation.

If the state championships were not enough, try these numbers on for size: Over the last three seasons, Hoover has compiled a 42-3 record and from 2000-2009, under Propst and Niblett, the Bucs went a combined 130-16.

Since it began playing football, Hoover has compiled an overall record of 424-158-7, a 72.9 winning percentage.

Propst help get Hoover’s most successful run going in 2000.

The Bucs went 7-3 his first year after several suffering through several losing seasons.

By the time he left after the 2007 season, he had led the Bucs to a 110-16 record that included a 6-6 mark in his final year.

He was 35-3 in the playoffs and played for the state title in seven of his nine seasons.

Niblett’s teams have gone 69-6 since he replaced Propst, winning two titles. He also won a state championship at Oneonta in 2004.

In his 14 years as a head coach, he has posted a 134-38 record.

Propst obviously is relishing the opportunity to return to the community where he had so much success and left under such a cloud.

And even though the Packers are ranked No.  1 in Georgia, he knows few give his Packers a chance of knocking off the Buccaneers in front of their home fans at the 9,000-seat Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, more commonly known as the Hoover Met.

“We’ll be a little bit of an underdog,” Propst said. “So we’ll go up there with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder.”

Propst has likened his Packers as Ole Miss of the Southeastern Conference having to go up against Alabama or Georgia.

NOTES: The Georgia High School Football Daily’s rankings have Colquitt County at No. 1 followed by Lovejoy (0-0), North Gwinnett (1-0), McEachern (1-0), North Cobb (0-0), Norcross (0-1), Lowndes (0-0), Lassiter (0-0), Mill Creek (0-0) and Camden County (0-1). ....

Many Colquitt County fans are still buzzing over a comment made by one of the Georgia Public Broadcasting announcers to the effect that players in Colquitt County don’t have much to do but “play football and chop wood.” ...

The Colquitt County-Hoover game will start at 7 p.m. CT; 8 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on a tape-delay basis at 10 p.m. ...

Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (The Hoover Met), formerly known as Regions Park, is a former minor league baseball park that was home of the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League from 1988 to 2012.

The stadium also serves as the home for the SEC Baseball Tournament and is the primary home for the Hoover High football team.

Region 1-AAAAAA teams split their four season-openers last weekend.

Colquitt County defeated Grayson 21-6 and Camden County lost to North Gwinnett 34-14 in the Corky Kell Classic.

Coffee defeated Whitewater 20-7 and Brunswick lost its opener 35-20 to Wayne County.

All seven region teams will be in action on Friday with Colquitt County going to Hoover; Lowndes playing host to Luella; Camden County meeting Baker County (Fla) in Kingsland; Coffee meeting Ware County at Jardine Stadium; Brunswick playing Glynn County; Valdosta facing Thomas County Central at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium; and Tift County playing host to Westover.


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