MOULTRIE -- Friday's 33-7 victory over Thomasville marked the halfway point in the season and finished off the non-Region 1-AAAAA part of the schedule for the Colquitt County football team.

And with its second and last open date coming up on Friday, the Packers can both reflect on a strong start to the season and get ready for a challenging start to the region schedule.

The Packers will be 4-1 when they travel to Valdosta a week from Friday to meet Lowndes in their Region 1-AAAAA opener.

If the team continues to improve as it has weekly since the season opened on Aug. 30 at home against Bainbridge, the Packers could make a run at a region championship.

There will be plenty of incentive for the Packers when they reach Martin Stadium.

If they needed any other reason besides it being a region game, the Packers might remember that a Colquitt County team has not won at Lowndes since 1994.

In 1996, the Packers lost 24-21. In 1998, it was a 13-10 defeat on a late, long fumble return for a score by the Vikings. And in 2000, the Packers twice fumbled the ball away near the Lowndes goal line and lost 13-12.

The Vikings have won five of the last six meetings between the two schools, including the last two in a row by a point each.

The current Vikings suffered their first loss of the season last Friday, falling to Camden County 20-12 at home. Lowndes travels to Douglas to meet Coffee in the region opener on Friday before playing host to the Packers.

The off-week will allow the Packers staff the luxury of scouting the Vikings.

It also will allow some injuries to heal. Colquitt should be at full-strength for the Vikings and are clearly playing it best football of the season.

Defensively, Colquitt has allowed just 35 points in five games and has not surrendered a touchdown pass.

A defense that was expected to struggle against the pass has intercepted eight passes, including one in the end zone and returning two others for touchdowns.

The Colquitt County secondary, which often has two juniors and two sophomores on the field, has been especially surprising, coming up with seven of the eight interceptions.

The Packers also have come up with eight fumbles and are allowing average of just 217.8 yards a game.

Colquitt's five opponents have managed just 615 yards on the ground and three opposing offenses -- those from Bainbridge, Dougherty and Thomasville -- have not managed to score.

Defensive end Isaac Jackson has been the leader of the defense, but tackles Walter Grier and Bernard Grant also are having excellent seasons.

And when starters have gone down, players such as Donald Jackson, Antwaun McDaniel, Mike Mobley and others have stepped in played well.

Offensively, the Packers were unimpressive in the first two games of the season -- a 16-0 win over Bainbridge and a 14-7 loss to Thomas County Central.

Since then, the Packers have averaged 30 points and 321 yards of offense a game.

All-region fullback Brian Knighton has rushed for 412 yards and has scored seven touchdowns and the offensive line has opened holes to allow the Packers to average 168 yards a game on the ground.

The most pleasant surprise has been the play of Montgomery Slaughter.

After five games, the senior quarterback, in just his first season as a full-time starter, has completed 35-of-61 passes, an impressive 57.4 percent.

The Packers completed just over 35 percent of their passes last season.

And after throwing for 219 yards against Thomasville last Friday, Slaughter has passed for 637 yards, just 17 fewer than the team threw for all of last season.

The offense was especially potent last Friday.

"We hit them pretty good," offensive line coach Scott Chafin said. "On Brian's first touchdown run, we pancaked two of their guys.

"But we've gotten better each week. And losing to Central might have helped. It let us know we were good, just not invincible."

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