MOULTRIE — Here is pretty much all you need to know about the Camden County offense that Colquitt County will have to contend with on Friday when the two teams meet in Kingsland in their Region 1-7A openers:
The 4-3 Wildcats have thrown a total of 38 passes so far this season. They have rushed the football 247 times.
Colquitt County coach Justin Rogers expects that format to continue at Chris Gilman Stadium on Friday.
Head coach Jeff Herron has returned to Camden County, where he won three state championships during his first stay in Kingsland from 2000-2012, and is unleashing his preferred form of offensive football, the wing-T.
“They make no bones about it,” Rogers said. “They are going to throw the balls on the bus when they leave for the stadium and throw the balls off the bus when the leave the stadium after the game.
“And that’s about all they are going to throw the ball. We are going to have to be ready for a smash-mouth, hard-nosed football game.”
It is not the kind of game that Packers have been used to playing this season.
Colquitt is 6-1 and ranked No. 5 in Class 7A while facing teams that either blend the run and the pass or pass first, run as an afterthought.
“There’s going to be some sleight of hand and anyone of the four backs can run the ball at any moment,” Rogers said. “We have got to trust our keys and reads and play disciplined football.”
Camden has seven backs who have rushed for 165 or more yards, led by Jamie Felix, who has carried 71 times for 535 yards and eight touchdowns.
Deonte Cole has carried just 38 times, but has rushed for 484 yards and has scored five times.
“They both really fit that style of play and they both have home run capability so they put a lot of pressure on our secondary,” Rogers said. “We have got to get them to the ground.”
And while the Wildcats run an offense that opposing teams rarely see, it has been an up-and-down season for Camden.
The Wildcats opened with lopsided wins over Columbia (31-0), Glynn Academy (46-18) and Inlet Grove of Riviera Beach, Fla. (51-18).
But since then, Camden has won just one of four, falling to Marietta (40-17), Coffee (10-7) and, two weeks ago, Warner Robins (77-34).
The Demons, who rushed for 325 yards and passed for 350 in their win over Camden, are one of the top teams in the state regardless of classification.
Warner Robins scored on all but one first-half possession and led 42-27 at the break.
Rogers said that defensively, the Wildcats won’t blitz much and will try to keep the ball in front of them to keep from giving up big plays.
That might not be easy to do against a Colquitt County team that is averaging 41.4 points a game and is one untimely turnover away from being 7-0.
Despite being led by a sophomore quarterback in Neko Fann, the Packers have turned in big plays week after week and haven’t let slow starts bother them.
Colquitt trailed Alcovy 18-7 less than two minutes into the second quarter last Friday, then unleashed the big plays: A 91-yard kickoff return by Ontavious Carolina; touchdown passes of 74 and 52 yards from Fann to Ny Carr; and touchdown runs of 33 yards by Chad White and 32 yards by Charlie Pace.
Colquitt also scored in the first quarter on a 50-yard pass from Fann to Landen Thomas.
After the first two games of the season in which Fann appeared to be in on-the-job training mode, the Packers have been explosive.
Fann leads Region 1-7A by completing 74-of-117 passes for 1,284 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Carr and Thomas have combined to catch 41 of those passes for 767 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Packers also have Region 1-7A’s leading rusher in Pace, who has carried 115 time for 685 yards and eight touchdowns.
And Rogers noted that while it is hard for teams that throw the ball a lot to replicate the wing-T in practice, it is also difficult for wing-T teams to prepare for a team as explosive as the Packers.
Rogers led his first two Colquitt County teams to victories over Camden County, extending recent success against the Wildcats.
Colquitt is 12-5 against Camden, including winning seven in a row and nine of the last 10.
And while a 4-3 record is not what Wildcat fans will expect once Herron settles in, Rogers said that after watching film, he can already see the effects the longtime successful coach has had on the team.
Now in his 30th season, Herron is 316-57 overall and has won five state championships and 19 region titles in his career.
His state championships at Camden came in 2003, 2008 and 2009.
LOWNDES AT TIFT COUNTY
Friday’s other Region 1-7A game will feature two teams with identical 5-2 records.
Lowndes opened with a 34-28 loss to Walton in the Corky Kell Classic before winning over Griffin and Lake Gibson, Fla.
Then, after a 24-21 loss to Lee County, the Vikings have won three straight, starting with 21-0 win over Valdosta in the Winnersville Classic.
Lowndes has victories over Alcovy and Cedar Grove the last two weeks.
The Vikings are led by All-State quarterback and four-year starter Jacurri Brown, who has completed 76-of-142 passes for 1,015 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Brown also is the fourth-leading rusher in Region 1-7A, carrying 103 times for 516 yards and eight touchdowns.
Jacarre Fleming also has been a focus of the Lowndes offense, with 68 rushes for 432 yards and six touchdowns.
Khris Thomas is the region’s leading receiver with 25 receptions for 346 yards and two touchdowns.
Lowndes also leads the region in points allowed, with 184, an average of 26 points a game.
The Vikings have won 31 of the 55 games between the two long-time region opponents, including five of the last six.
Tift County cannot match the Lowndes offensive production and has by far scored the fewest points in the region, just 143.
And 41 of those came in the season-opening victory over Westover.
But the Blue Devils, under first-year head coach Noel Dean, also have allowed the fewest points among the four region teams, just 90 in seven games.
Colquitt has allowed the next fewest, 142.
Tift opened with six straight games at Brodie Field, winning five, before losing at Valdosta 16-3 two weeks ago.
The Blue Devils also have lost to Appling County.
The matchup against Lowndes will mark the first Region 1-7A game for Dean, who won state titles in Michigan in 2002, 2004 and 2009 and was runner-up three times before stepping down after the 2017 season.
His Michigan record was 241-68.