Colquitt County’s senior boy soccer players will be introduced along the senior Lady Packers between matches against Lowndes on Monday at Packer Park.
Immediately thereafter, the Packers will head onto the field and try to take the next step toward doing something that has not been done here since 1999.
Winning a region championship.
The Lady Packers-Vikettes match will begin at 6 p.m.
The annual celebration honoring the teams’ senior players will begin shortly after final whistle, likely around 7:30 p.m.
Then the Packers will continue a quest for a region title that seemed somewhat remote on March 11 when they walked off the field in Tifton after dropping their Region 1-AAAAAA opener by a 2-1 score to the Blue Devils.
The loss dropped the Packers to 3-3-2. And, worse, they were 0-3-2 after a 3-0 start.
But the Colquitt boys returned to Packers Park three days later and defeated Camden County 4-1 and they haven’t looked back.
Since the loss to Tift County, the Packers have gone 6-1 and have won all three of their region matches. They are 9-4-2 overall.
Because of rainouts, the Packers are the only team in the region with two league matches remaining.
And if the 3-1 Packers can get by the Vikings on Monday, they could clinch the region title with a win over Coffee on Wednesday in Douglas.
Lowndes is likely to be prepared.
Not only are the Vikings currently in first place at 5-0 and can clinch the region title with a win, they will acutely aware that the Packers dealt them one of their four losses the season.
Colquitt blanked Lowndes 3-0 in a non-region match on Feb. 25 at Martin Stadium. Since then, the Vikings have gone 11-2-0 and will bring a 12-4-1 overall record into the match.
“The way we’re playing, I think we’ll be fine,” Packers coach Jimbo Jarvis said. “We are just going to look at them one at a time.”
Behind Lowndes and Colquitt County in the region standings are Coffee at 3-2, Tift County and Camden County at 3-3 and Valdosta and Brunswick at 1-5.
If the Packers win their final two, they and the Vikings would both be 5-1 with Packers claiming the region title on the tiebreaker.
“We’ve talked about that,” said Jarvis, who was an assistant on the 1999 region champion coached by Jeff Morris. “It’s time we brought it back home.”
Colquitt can take second in the region even it loses to Lowndes by defeating Coffee on Wednesday.
Losses in both games would leave the Packers tied for third and fourth with Tift County and Camden County.
The advantage of finishing first or second, of course, is being able to play host to a first-round match in the state tournament, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 29.
The region champion also would be able to play a second-round game at home if it can get by its opener.
The resurgent Packers have received goals from 12 players this season, including seven who have three or more. Colquitt is led in scoring by senior Maca Aguilera, who in his first season with the Packers has scored 12 goals.
Seniors Luis Padilla and Marcus Lopez and junior Garrett Moore each have scored six goals.
Senior Jay Tolbert has scored four times and Josh Smith and Francisco Gomez, also seniors, each have three goals.
Jarvis said he is pleased with the development of his defense this season, starting with senior keeper Mathew Moody.
“He is such a smart player,” Jarvis said. “He directs the back line for us.”
Luis Padilla and Gio Martin have been solid in front of Moody.
“They complement each other so well,” Jarvis said.
Eric Gould, one of the team’s most improved players, and Richard Garcia have been solid outside, with Ryan Littleton valuable coming off the bench.
The Packers seniors are Eric Gould, Brian Vidales, Francisco Gomez, Manuel Vasquez, Richard Garcia, Fernando Miranda, Maca Aguilera, Giovanni Martin, Marcus Lopez, Will Pitts, Josh Smith, Carlos Martinez, Luis Padilla, Alex Balderas and Mathew Moody.
Junior varsity seniors Austin Hunnicutt and Bayley Yarbrough also will be recognized on Monday.
The Colquitt County girls team has four seniors who will be honored on Monday: varsity players Raley Wallace and Abbi Beth Paulk and junior varsity players Haley Bautista and Leslie Aguilar.
The Lady Packers, who are 2-2 in the region, can finish third in the region with victories over the Vikettes and Lady Trojans.
Coach Andy Chapura likes the way his team, which is 5-9 overall, is playing now.
“We’re finally getting some consistency,” he said. “In the first six games, we had six different lineups.
“It just took some time for them to get used to their positions.”