MOULTRIE - Colquitt County cemented its hold on No. 1 in Class AAAAAA on Friday with a 45-27 victory over No. 3 Lowndes at Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium.
The victory gets the Packers to 6-0 and 1-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA as they prepare to meet Lee County next Friday back at the stadium. The Trojans opened region play with a 24-21 victory over Tift County in Tifton on Friday.
Also on Friday, No. 5 Valdosta won 13-10 at No. 2 Camden County as the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the state suffered their first losses of the season.
The Packers got three touchdowns from Sihiem King and overcame nine penalties, including four that went for 15 yards each. Colquitt was flagged for three 15-yard penalties in the fourth quarter, but survived to beat the Vikings for the second year in a row.
In those two victories, Colquitt has scored 37 and 45 points.
The Vikings scored on an 84-yard touchdown pass on their first offensive snap, a 40-yard interception return later in the first quarter and on an 80-yard run by Dezmon Copeland, but sustained only one long drive.
Three turnovers and two miscues on fourth-down plays also stymied the Vikings.
Lowndes completed just 7-of-16 passes and two third-quarter interceptions thrown by Austin Dixon helped keep the Vikings from staging a rally.
A Vikings fumble led to the Packers third touchdown and Lowndes also fumbled on a fourth down at the Colquitt County 5 with 6:43 left in the game while trailing by nine.
Four minutes later Lowndes gave the Packers the ball on their 1 when they could not handle a punt attempt.
The thunderstorms predicted for Friday evening blew through in the afternoon leaving the large crowd with perfect weather to watch two of the top three teams in the state.
Those fans could not have expected to see such a wild first half.
The two teams combined for five first-quarter touchdowns and Colquitt County led 28-21 at the break.
The Packers took the opening kickoff and drove 73 yards on 12 plays to score on a 7-yard run up the middle by quarterback Chase Parrish.
On the first play after the kickoff, Lowndes ran a double reverse pass with running back Demarcus Jackson completing an 84-yard touchdown to Xavier Jenkins, tying game 7-7 with 7:30 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings then took the lead when Kedrick Clemons intercepted a Parrish pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
Colquitt responded on its next possession when Parrish completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Marquan Greene and the Packers tied the game at 14-14.
Lowndes fumbled away its next possession when Bull Barge hit Luis Regal, who coughed up the ball and Ricky Dunbar recovered on the Lowndes 20.
Five plays later, sophomore Ty "Grump" Jones scored from a yard out and the Packers led 21-14.
Lowndes never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Colquitt appeared to have another touchdown with just 14 seconds remaining in the first quarter when King raced 80 yards to the end zone, but the play was nullified by a penalty.
Still, starting again from its 9-yard line, Colquitt drove 91 yards to score on a 62-yard run by King and the Packers were up 28-14 with 11 minutes left in the half.
The Vikings then mounted their only successful long drive, going 80 yards in 17 plays with Ahmad Sneed scoring from a yard out with 2:43 left in the half to pull to within seven at 28-21.
The Packers scored on their first two possessions of the second half on the strength of Zay Lewis interceptions.
The first pick and return set up a 7-yard touchdown run by King that put the Packers up 35-21. The second interception by Lewis, which he returned 56 yards to the Lowndes 4 led to a 29-yard field goal by Luis Martinez.
Dezmon Copeland broke an 80-yard touchdown run with 4:32 left in the third quarter, but a faked conversion kick and 2-point run attempt failed leaving Colquitt up 38-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
The lead did not feel safe much of that quarter.
The Packers were flagged for a personal foul and two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that led to first downs to keep the next Lowndes drive alive.
But the Vikings fumbled the ball back to their 17 on a fourth-and-2 at the Colquitt 5 with 6:43 left and it was all but over.
King tacked on his final touchdown with 2:44 left after the Vikings chased down and fell on a bad snap on a punt attempt at their own 1.
Parrish completed 16-of-25 passes for 172 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Kiel Pollard had six catches for 72 yards.
King carried 20 times for 131 yards and his three touchdowns give him 12 for the season.
Linebacker Bull Barge and safety Landon Scott led Packers defense.