This is the fourth in a series highlighting Colquitt County’s 15-0 state champi- onship season in 1994.
MOULTRIE – Colquitt County had given up just three touchdowns while winning their first four games of the 1994 state championship football season.
But the Packers defense shifted into an even higher gear for the next two games, a 7-3 win at home in a memorable meeting with Bainbridge and a 13-0 shutout of Ware County in Waycross.
The Packers managed just two touchdowns and a pair of field goals in the two games, but the defense successfully protected its goal line and surrendered just the one field goal against the Bearcats.
And late in the game at Mack Tharpe Stadium, it appeared that the 20-yard, third-quarter Jason Pollock field goal would be enough to deal the Packers their first loss of the season.
Linebacker Jesse Sutton made back-to-back plays to help keep the Bearcats out of the end zone after they had reached the Packers 1 early in the fourth quarter.
Sutton broke through on a blitz and hit Region 1-AAAA leading rusher Jonathan Butler for a 2-yard loss on second down.
On third down, Sutton blitzed again, forcing Pollock, the Bainbridge quarterback, to hurry his delivery and throw an incomplete pass.
Pollock’s field goal broke a scoreless tie, but the Packers were to mount one last drive and finish it in spectacular fashion.
That drive took 17 plays and led the Packers to the Bainbridge 11 with just over a half-minute left in the game.
Fullback Sam Collins was having one of the best games of his career, rushing for 67 yards on 11 carries. On the final drive, he carried six times for 28 yards.
Fortunately, when the Packers reached the Bearcats’ 11, quarterback Clif Henry had a weapon at his disposal that he did not have in the first half.
Region-leading receiver Ronald Bonner was sore from a knee injury suffered on a punting drill at practice on the Wednesday before the game.
He spent the first half of the game against Bainbridge on the sideline in shorts and his jersey.
After a scoreless first half in which the Packers completed just one pass, Bonner received permission from head coach Jim Hughes and team physician Dr. D.Q. Harris to suit up for the second half.
“It was hurting a little bit,” Bonner said of his knee following the game.
But, he added, “Sitting on the sidelines, I just couldn’t handle it.”
And it was Bonner who Henry was looking for with time running out.
Henry deliver the ball to the end zone. Bainbridge corner Marvin Hartsfield never turned around and Bonner reached back and hauled it in for the Packers’ first lead of the night with just 23 seconds remaining as the home stands erupted.
Points were at a premium the following Friday night in Waycross as well.
Ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AAAA, the Packers managed only a pair of field goals from Neal Clements and a third-quarter touchdown pass from Henry to Bonner.
But the first Clements field goal, which came from 20 yards out after the Packers stalled at the Ware County 3-yard line in the first quarter, was all Colquitt County would need.
The Gators maned just 53 yards on the ground on 26 carries and completed just 10-of-25 passes for 89 yards.
On the Packers first possession of the second half, they drove 67 yards for their only touchdown. Lavasky King had runs of 10, 10, 1 and 8 yards to set up Henry’s 21-yard scoring toss to Bonner.
Colquitt failed to get a first down on their next three possessions, but the defense made those struggles moot.
Clements’ second field goal of the game was from 23 yards out and came in the fourth quarter.
The game extended the Packers string of not allowing a touchdown to eight quarters.
Next Wednesday, the Packers defeat Valdosta and Lowndes, both by 10-7 scores.