MOULTRIE – Sadly, it was a running joke for a year now: Do you think Alcovy High can get a first down this time? In the 2018 season, Alcovy High was Colquitt County High’s Homecoming opponent, lost 56-0 with nary a first down gained on offense.
In 2019, Alcovy agreed to return to Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium as the Packer Nation celebrated another Homecoming. What do you know, the Tigers from Covington did move the chains not just once, but four times in the first half.
It’s still points that matter, and 7A No. 3 Colquitt County dominated in that department to improve to 5-1. Senior quarterback Jaycee Harden, for the second time this season, threw five touchdown passes while amassing 224 yards through the air. The Packers rolled 52-0 giving first-year head coach Justin Rogers his 50th career victory.
Harden completed 11 passes in a game where he started 1-for-6. Tyler Walker caught two touchdowns, and the others belong to Lemeke Brockington (his eighth on the season), Tajh Sanders and Carter Boatwright.
Five games into a stretch of nine in a row, there was a familiar theme that played out Friday: Some regular starters sat out the game, giving some Packers a chance to start for the first time. The offensive line was a rework with tackle Devene Jamerson and center Trey McCoy not in full uniform. Thomas Barry shifted from guard to center, Tyler Meads (with a bit of backup playing time to his credit) started at guard on the right side, and the substitute tackle beside him was Kharullah Blount.
Safety JaPaul Lewis did not start, that assignment going to Pershuan Fann. With senior Nyquan Washington settled in as free safety due to the injury to Traveon Tuff, Denzel Coates, a senior, was on the field from the beginning at cornerback. Desmen Davis returned to action after missing the past two contests.
With all the changes, the Packer offense took some time to click, losing yards on the opening series. But with senior running back Daijun Edwards picking up a key block, Harden found Brockington on 3rd-and-7 for 16 yards on the second drive. The Packers were in Alcovy territory thanks to Washington’s 18-yard punt return, and with Montavious Ponder going around end, Colquitt was in the ‘red zone.’
Jason Gallardo opened the scoring making a 28-yard field goal at 6:17 of the first quarter.
Nathan Bell, LaQuavion Haynes, Callon Kubiak and Gamal Wallace up front and Omarion Daniels in the secondary held Alcovy without positive yards most of the period, and the Packer offense began another scoring run on the Tiger side of the field. Harden found Walker from 30 yards out at 4:22, and Gallardo added one more for 10-0 Colquitt.
Before the quarter ended, super speedy senior Andrae Robinson of Alcovy earned the first of two straight Tiger first downs. They were still outside of Packer ground, and linebacker Ty’Li Lewis got to Robinson on a 3rd-and-20 screen pass shy of another first on Colquitt’s 48.
The Packers lost a fumble early in the second quarter, but Lewis and Bell worked to get possession back on downs at the CC 45.
Meads, along with fellow guard Connor Gay, gave Edwards room for 19 yards to the Tiger 36, and from there Harden was on the money to Sanders in the end zone. It was 17-0 at 8:51 until halftime.
Colquitt special teams put some highlights up in the quarter, from Ponder’s 24-yard punt return to Tucker Pitts’ 46-yard punt downed by his snapper, Max Parker on the Tiger 1.
With linebacker Biron Silas defending the first-down spot, Colquitt’s offense was back on the field at its 44. Inside the final two minutes before the half, Brockington went over the middle for a 41-yard touchdown from Harden (24-0).
As Desmond Reese batted down MJ Stroud’s pass late for the ninth incompletion and Haynes threw in one more tackle for a loss, Alcovy shanked a 10-yard punt to the 27. With one second on the clock, Walker danced on the goal line in catching a 4-yard touchdown. That made it 31-0 at the half. It was a half where the Tigers, with the four first downs, netted around 80 yards of offense.
As the clock ran in a quick second half, Boatwright ended a 31-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown catch.
Time still dwindling away in a hurry, the Packers got two more rushing touchdowns in the final quarter. Charlie Pace scored from five yards out and Pitts did a keeper run at quarterback to score from 10 out.
Edwards had 105 yards from scrimmage, 36 rushing and 69 receiving, as he only played the first half. This was one week after setting two school records (career rushing yards and total touchdowns) in a win over Grayson.