MOULTRIE – If any of those Packers on defense need to get their ‘engine’ going, linebacker Ty French can certainly pop open the hood and get things revved up.
That is, of course, a reference to French’s interest in auto mechanics. But it’s on the football field, not the race track, where he does his best work as a Colquitt County High Packer.
When Colquitt advanced past North Cobb in the opening round of the GHSA 7A playoffs, it was a landmark game for French. The team leader surpassed 100 tackles for the season (108), and he registered a career-high three quarterback sacks on Warrior freshman Malachi Singleton.
Quite a feat considering Singleton was more apt to run the football, which he did 25 times for 150 yards. But French and his fellow defenders – being on the field for 36 plays in the first half alone – kept the Warriors out of the end zone offensively.
“You have to adjust,” said French about how to approach such an offense. “You have to make adjustments to the quarterback. He’s a good quarterback.
“Coming off the ball fast and blitzing,” he added on how he got those three sacks.
It was two games in a row Colquitt County’s defense had to prepare for a running QB. Lowndes’ sophomore Jacurri Brown got the better of that battle Nov. 1 with two touchdown runs in the 28-17 final in the Vikings’ favor.
“You have to like to run,” said French about playing on defense and chasing these athletes all over a football field. “I like to run. You have to be ready to run. I’m just in shape.”
For French, the 2019 season represented the chance to move up to a starter’s role in the Packer defense. For the last two seasons, this unit’s been loaded with linebackers like Rashard Revels, Marcus Anderson, Kendrick Neloms and J.J. Peterson.
“Putting in extra work after practice,” French said about his preparation for this season, perfecting the art of tackling. “Going hard every day. You hit one man every day, do grab, pull, roll.
“You had some good linebackers in front of me. So I just waited for my time. I was on special teams. (My older teammates) always stayed on me, made me go hard.”
For today’s second round, it’s a different challenge for the Packer defense from the Parkview High Panthers, which has two big running backs including Cody Brown, who’s gained more than 1,000 yards. This quarterback, Jordan Williams, is more likely to throw the football as he has 20 touchdown passes.
“Everybody on the field, they’re good,” said French. “We are going to have to be on our stuff. (Brown) breaks tackles. If we are going to reach and tackle, we aren’t going to get him down. We have to get up on his toes and tackle.”
French already received a Student Athlete of the Month award this year, which he credited to good grades. He said UTC, UAB and Kennesaw State have shown interest in bringing his ‘motor’ to the next level.