MOULTRIE — Asked separately about what they consider to be Nyquann Washington’s prime attribute as a member of the Colquitt County secondary, both head coach Justin Rogers and cornerbacks coach Dextra Polite answered quickly with the same word.
And not just under the Friday night lights.
Washington has few peers when it comes to working the other days of the week to turn himself into the player who has started three seasons in the Packers secondary.
Rogers, who has led the Packers to an 8-2 record and a berth in the playoffs that will start next Friday on Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium, has been effusive in his praise for how Washington goes about his business at practice and in games.
Polite, himself a former Colquitt County defensive back of some note, put two “verys” in front of the word “competitive” when asked to describe Washington.
And Polite went further.
“He understands the game,” he said of the 5-foot-11, 168-pounder. “And he has that leadership.
“He can put people where they need to be.”
With his leaping interception in the first quarter of the Packers game at Lowndes last Friday, Washington has quietly moved into third place all-time among Packer defensive backs.
He has four this season and 11 in his career, tying him with his former secondary mate Jay Ward, who is now playing at LSU.
With two more picks, he will move into a tie with his position coach. Polite had 13 interceptions in his Colquitt County career, which ended in 1994 when he was a member of the Packers undefeated state championship team.
Anthony Bridges is Packers all-time interceptions leader, with 17 from 1988-1990.
Washington started as a cornerback for the Packers as a sophomore in 2017 when he led the team with five interceptions.
Last year, with Washington at one corner and Ward at the other, he picked off two passes and added two fumble recoveries and, perhaps, surprisingly, three sacks as the Packers went 14-1.
In addition to his four interceptions this year (the others were against Valdosta, Grayson and Camden County), he is sixth on the team with 35 total tackles and has recovered the fourth fumble of his career.
This season featured a bit of a change for Washington, who has played primarily at safety.
The move was made necessary by the season-ending injuries to safeties Traveon Tuff, Desmen Davis and Ja’Paul Lewis.
Polite, perhaps anticipating needing Washington at safety at some point during the season, gave his savvy senior some reps there as early as last spring.
The move was seamless.
“He made a good transition,” Polite said. “We knew he’d be ready.”
As the team heads into the postseason, Washington is teaming with sophomore Pershaun Fann in the deep secondary with juniors Antonio Spradley and Omar Daniels more than holding their own on the corners.
Fann is still learning after having spent much of the summer playing baseball.
Daniels was moved from offense to defense in the spring and has performed well.
“He just has a knack for the ball,” Polite said.
Spradley returned his only interception this season for a touchdown against Trinity Christian.
“He has all the physical skills,” Polite said.
The future looks even brighter for the secondary with the development of Jaheim Ward, Jay’s younger brother, who also is a junior.
Their progress has been aided by Washington, the Packers veteran presence in the secondary.