MOULTRIE — Colquitt County football coach Justin Rogers continues to be especially pleased with the work of his skill-position players after a fourth-straight strong 7-on-7 performance last Friday.
The Packers reached the quarterfinals of the Corky Kell 7-on-7 Invitational in Atlanta before falling to eventual champion Marietta.
Colquitt had won two of the three previous tournaments it had entered this offseason and had a chance at a third before coming up two points short against the Blue Devils.
“We had a terrible call against Marietta,” Rogers said of the 26-24 loss that sent the Blue Devils to the semifinals. “Except for that, we might have won it. But it is what it is.”
Marietta edged Creekside 18-17 in the semifinal and, in an all-Cobb County final, defeated Kell 22-14 for the title.
In pool play, the Packers defeated Chattahoochee 36-10; Lambert, 24-14; Buford, 25-9; and lost to Grayson 26-21.
Seeded No. 9 in the 35-team single-elimination tournament, Colquitt beat Blessed Trinity 36-14 and Walton 30-21 before falling to Marietta.
The Packers took the first two 7-on-7 tournaments they competed in this month, winning at the University of Georgia and at Florida State, where they beat Valdosta 28-13 in the championship game.
At Auburn last week, Colquitt went 4-1-1 in pool play before being eliminated by top-seeded Pinson Valley (Ala.).
Rogers has few complaints with how his defense has performed.
“We still have to work on our coverages and our communication,” the first-year coach said. “We’re in a new system and it showed up a couple of times.”
There are players still jockeying for positions, especially at linebacker and safety, he said.
Among the players he has been most impressed with this summer are rising seniors Ty French and Callon Kubiak.
The Packers offensive skill players have been making plays all summer.
It is a veteran group, led by quarterback Jaycee Harden.
Rogers likes what he has seen from the rising senior.
“He’s making good reads,” Rogers said. “But we haven’t been out there with OLs and DLs.
“We just need to take what we’ve done so far and apply it to that.”
The receiving corps is especially strong and deep.
Lemeke Brockington, Tyler Walker and rising sophomore Tajh Sanders are veterans of the Packers potent 2018 offense.
Carter Boatwright will take over at tight end from the graduated Josh Hadley and could be an even more productive receiver.
Omar Daniels, Montavious Ponder and Ontavious Carolina give the Packers depth.
Rising senior Daijun Edwards also is a fine receiver coming out of the backfield.
The Packers will continue to lift weights and practice through Thursday of this week, before the players and coaches get a well-earned three-day weekend.
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, the Packers will attend a padded camp at Cairo High.
The rising ninth-graders will participate each morning against Valdosta, Cairo and Mitchell County.
The varsity Packers will be among 13 teams practicing beginning at 6 p.m. each day.
The Packers will work in the weight room the next day before being turned loose to enjoy the Georgia High School Association-mandated “dead week,” July 1-6.
Rogers said the players and coaching staff have been “trying to get six months of work in in three months,” and will need the break to prepare for the final weeks of practice leading up to the Aug. 24 season-opener against North Gwinnett in the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Colquitt County and North Gwinnett split a pair of games in the University of Georgia 7-on-7.
Rogers said it appeared the Packers will not have a preseason scrimmage against another school this year.
He has been trying to find an opponent, “But I think that ship has sailed.”