MOULTRIE – As expected, the Colquitt County offense looked strong, the defense struggled and Baby Lu thrilled the home crowd as the Packers varsity defeated their Coffee counterparts 37-24 in a scrimmage on Thursday at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium.
The junior varsity Packers, who played the fourth quarter, added another touchdown on a pass from Jay Saunders to Austin McCord.
The start of the game was delayed an hour and 20 minutes by lightning, but it had no apparent effect on the Packers offense, which gained 136 yards, scored two touchdowns and got a 54-yard field goal from Luis “Baby Lu” Martinez in the first quarter.
Coffee scored two touchdowns in the second quarter – on an 8-yard, fourth-down pass from quarterback Max Hughes to Tray Bryant and on an 8-yard run by Demetrius Davis – and pulled to within 11 at the half.
The Trojans narrowed their deficit to five on a 54-yard Hughes-to-Jarvis Williams touchdown pass with 6:49 left in the third quarter and to within six on Hughes’s third touchdown pass – to Y’darius Baker from 10 yards out – with 41 seconds left.
The Packers answered both of those scores with touchdowns of their own.
Kiel Pollard scored on a 1-yard run out of the “wild hawg” formation with 3:28 left and Isiah Thomas scored on a 22-yard pass from Saunders on the last play of third quarter.
“I saw some good things out there, some bad things out there and some average things out there,” Packers coach Rush Propst said.
Propst sounded as if his team still has a ways to go before it will be ready for its Aug. 22 season-opener against North Gwinnett in the Georgia Dome in the Corky Kell Classic.
“We have had some bad things happen to us that we have to overcome,” he said. “But our intensity level is not where it needs to be. I think we have read our clippings too much and our (state championship) celebration has lingered.
“We’ve been busting assignments and our focus is up and down. We need a more business-like approach.”
Propst got that when the Packers needed less than two minutes to score the game’s first touchdown.
Ty Lee took the opening kickoff 16 yards to the 31 and the Packers got 15 more when the Trojans were flagged for a personal foul.
Chase Parrish completed his first pass to Thomas for 6 yards and Nate Powell followed with a 14-yard run.
Five plays later, Parrish got the ball quickly to Ty Lee, who side-stepped the first Trojan defender, then raced down the sideline 22 yards to the end zone.
When Colquitt’s next drive fizzled at the Trojans 36, Propst called time and then sent out Martinez to try a 54-yard field goal. It was true with plenty to spare and the Packers led 10-0 with 7:30 left in the first quarter.
Powell capped the next Packers possession with a 1-yard plunge on a fourth-and-goal with 2:35 remaining to put Colquitt up 17-0. The 51-yard scoring drive featured the last four of the Packers’ 10 first quarter first downs.
Coffee marched 80 yards for its first touchdown with 7:35 left in the first half to cut the Packers lead to 17-6.
Martinez finished off the Packers next possession with a 37-yard field goal.
And after Rakeem Hightower picked off a Hughes pass on the first play after the kickoff, Martinez rescued the Packers again with a 42-yard field goal.
Coffee cut the Packers lead to 23-12 on the touchdown run by Davis with 1.5 seconds left in the half.
Parrish, who did not play in the second half, completed 5-of-12 passes for 62 yards.
The Trojans took the second half kickoff and scored on the long pass from Hughes to Williams.
Colquitt matched that score when Pollard bulled in from the 1 with 3:28 left. Baudilio Martinez added the extra point.
After the Trojans scored their final touchdown with 41 seconds left in the third quarter, they tried an onside kick that was recovered by Colquitt County’s Akivie Bailey.
Saunders then threw to Thomas for 8 yards, ran for 22 himself, then hit Thomas in stride in the end zone for the final score of the varsity game.
Saunders completed all four of his passes in the varsity game for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Powell was the Packers leading rusher with 79 yards on 12 carries.
Rafael Merritt added 48 on 10 carries and Lee had 16 on four.
“They answered the bell,” Propst said of the triumvirate that is replacing record-setting Sihiem King in the backfield. They all played well.”
Thomas was the leading receiver with four catches for 43 yards.