MOULTRIE – The Colquitt County football team will try to shake off a rash of injuries and sickness today when it travels south to take on Thomasville High at Veterans Memorial Stadium in what is expected to be a difficult non-Region 1-AAAAA contest.

The Region 1-AA Bulldogs are ranked No. 4 in The Associated Press poll and No. 3 in the Georgia High School Football Daily poll and are coming off an emotional 13-9 victory over crosstown rival Thomas County Central.

The Bulldogs have a number of outstanding skill players, including fullback/strong safety Fred Holton, quarterback/free safety Charles Hayes and quarterback/running back Jeffery Dyson.

And Coach Richie Marsh and his team would like nothing better than to open the season with a pair of victories over longtime, higher-classification opponents that had defeated them last year.

The Packers beat the Bulldogs 10-7 last year in a game that featured a late Thomasville fumble and a controversial Colquitt County field goal just before the half.

“For them, it’s a big game,” said Colquitt County coach Rush Propst. “They’ve got more enthusiasm than they’ve had. So we’re going into a hostile environment. It’ll be one of the toughest environments we’ll be in.”

Colquitt also is 1-0, having opened with a 39-7 victory over Region 1-A’s Randolph-Clay at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium last Friday.

The Packers starting offense moved the ball well, scoring four of the first five times it had the ball and built up a 33-0 lead over the Red Devils. The defense had a shutout until 23 seconds were left in the third quarter.

But the Packers have struggled to get players on the practice field this week.

Starting left guard Chris Walsh injured an ankle in practice on Monday and will miss tonight’s game and likely next Friday’s game at Wayne County.

Starting left tackle Garrett Brewer injured an ankle against Randolph-Clay and did not practice Monday or Tuesday.

And at least three starters missed time during the week with illnesses.

Propst called the Packers practice lineups “piecemeal at best” and said he couldn’t remember having as many players miss practice because of sickness. The Packers coach also has suffered from flu-like symptoms recently.

Offensively, the Packers are expected to start sophomore Bryce Giddens at center, juniors Tommy Marshall and Trey Rhymes at the guards and Brewer and sophomore Xavier Ward at the tackles.

The starting receivers will be seniors Jacob Propst and Quin Roberson, sophomore Ty Smith and junior Blake Stamps. Propst had four catches for 55 yards last week and had another for an apparent touchdown called back.

Junior Tyler Brown, who completed 10-of-16 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns against Randolph-Clay, will start at quarterback.

Junior Tevin King will be the running back. King touched the ball just three times against the Red Devils, but had a 19-yard touchdown run, a 16-yard pass reception and a 43-yard kickoff return,

Roberson also played at quarterback last Friday and Tommy Hudson and Travis Harris also got plenty of time at receiver.

The Packers allowed a pair of sacks last week and will try to keep the Bulldog pass rush off Brown and Roberson this week.

Defensively, the Packers are likely to start senior Tyrell Wright and junior Quan Daniels at the ends and seniors Robert Fuller and Cameron Erving at the tackles. Senior Nyneson Jeudy also will rotate in at tackle.

The linebackers are expected to be seniors Jamal Davis, Willie McCrary and Emory Wheeler. Jeudy, Dillon Underwood and Stephen Moore, who has been sick much of the week, also will be in the rotation.

The corners will be senior Derrell Ward and Tre DeBruce. Amel is expected to get in the game quickly.

William McCrary will be the rover and Davis Durham the free safety. Jeremy Downs and Payne Newsome also will play.

Senior Ashley Mead will be the snapper and Durham will do the holding.

Senior Tyler Dismuke and junior Rich Tyndall will be the place-kickers.

Dismuke also will do the punting and will kick off. He knocked four of his kickoffs into the end zone against Randolph-Clay.

Thomasville had a big night defensively against Thomas County Central, holding the Yellow Jackets to just 132 yards rushing and 45 more through the air.

The Colquitt County receivers will try to be aware of where Holton, who has committed to Georgia Tech, is on the field.

“He’s extremely fast and extremely good at what he does,” Jacob Propst said of Holton.

The Bulldogs defense also scored against Thomas County Central when linebacker Lanorris Christopher intercepted an Eric Dodson pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown.

Offensively, the Packers hope to hem up Hayes, who rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown and passed for 59 yards against the Yellow Jackets last week. He scored the Bulldogs first touchdown on a 54-yard run.

Hayes rushed for 725 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Dyson rushed for 729 yards last year, including 98 against the Packers. He scored the Bulldogs only touchdown against Colquitt County last year on 28-yard fourth-quarter run.

Also in Region 1-AAAAA tonight, Pierce County (0-1) will travel to Coffee (0-1); Fayette County (1-0) at Houston County (1-0); Peachtree Ridge (1-0) at Lowndes (1-0); Brooks County (0-0) at Tift County (0-1); Windsor Forest (0-1) at Valdosta (1-0); and Warner Robins (1-0) at Grayson (1-0).

Northside-Warner Robins (1-0) is off.

Next Friday’s schedule includes Colquitt County at Wayne County; Coffee at Shaw; Houston County at Bradwell Institute; Lowndes at Ware County; Carver-Columbus at Northside; Cook at Tift County; and Jonesboro at Valdosta.

Beach will be at Warner Robins on Saturday, Sept. 12.

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