MOULTRIE – Colquitt County had scheduled a scrimmage against Lee County for Aug. 7, but the game was not played when the Georgia High School Association canceled all such games.
The first two games of the regular season also fell by the wayside, victims of the coronavirus.
Six weeks after the scrimmage was expected to have been played, the Packers finally got their to perform in a long-delayed opener that felt much like a scrimmage.
The Packers, with a lot of young and inexperienced players making their first appearances under the new and impressive Mack Tharpe Stadium lights, had little trouble with visiting Banneker High of Atlanta, winning 51-0.
It was a game that allowed coach Justin Rogers to use nearly every player on his roster. As he and his staff would have done had Colquitt been able to play Lee County last month, they were able to make some much-needed evaluations.
“We were able to play a ton of guys to see what we’ve got,” Rogers said. “It was sloppy at times, but we’re going to go through some growing pains.”
The defense performed much as Rogers had hoped – perhaps even better.
Banneker was held to minus-38 yards of offense and just two first downs.
The Trojans completed just 4-of-16 passes for 28 yards. One third-quarter completion went for 36 yards. The other three were each for negative yards.
Seventeen rushing plays also were in the minus column.
And one of those two Banneker first down came via a Colquitt County double penalty.
What the Packers staff was really seeking was how the offense, which will be led by a pair of rookie quarterbacks, would perform.
Even knowing the performance will have to be much better when 2-0 Valdosta under former Packers coach Rush Propst rolls in next Friday, Rogers sounded pleased with the Packers offensive effort.
Senior Xavier Williams, who transferred to Colquitt County during the spring after serving as the backup at Ola High in Henry County last season, started at quarterback.
He missed several open receivers, misses Rogers wrote off to first-game jitters.
Still Williams completed 12-of-22 passes for 221 yards and three scores. He also ran for a 27-yard touchdown to give the Packers a 28-0 halftime lead.
Zane Touchton played in the third quarter and completed 5-of-7 for 66 yards.
Each quarterback threw an interception.
I’marius Bussie played a series in the fourth quarter and completed his only pass.
Baby D Wheeler caught a pair of touchdown passes and Charlie Pace grabbed another.
Rogers was especially pleased with the three running backs the Packers featured on Friday.
Charlie Pace carried six times for 33 yards and a touchdown; starter Jamaree Hill had six attempts for 15 yards and a score; and freshman Nick Pace had seven carries for 32 yards and he, too, scored a touchdown.
“I thought that was a high spot,” Rogers said. “They are extremely violent, hard runners. You have got to be committed to getting them to the ground.”
After forcing a three-and-out after Banneker took the opening kickoff, Colquitt scored on its first offensive play of the season.
Williams got the ball out quickly to Wheeler who ran down the sideline, shedding would-be tacklers along the way, to score from 37 yards out.
Emmanuel Perez added the first of his seven extra points.
The Trojans were unable to get a punt off on their next possession, giving the Packers the ball on the Banneker 29.
Hill scored on a 4-yard run six plays later and the lead went to 14-0 with 4:35 left in the first quarter.
Colquitt had a short field on its next possession, but Perez was short and left on a 40-yard field goal attempt.
Williams threw an interception the next time the Packers had the football, but on the next possession connected with Orion Bonner on a 72-yard pass-and-run to set up his 9-yard scoring toss to Charlie Pace and Colquitt led 21-0.
Later in the half, Williams displayed his speed when, on a third-and-19, he was unable to find a receiver, tucked the ball under his arm and lit out for the end zone 19 yards away.
The Packers let a scoring chance slip away when the first-half clock ran out on them when they were on the Banneker 8.
Colquitt got the second half kickoff and drove to another score, when Wheeler made a leaping catch in the end zone on a pass from Williams with 9:39 left in third quarter to put the Packers up 35-0.
A safety caused when a Banneker punt snap sailed through the end zone put Colquitt ahead 37-0 moments later.
A 31-yard completion of a Touchton pass to Ontavious Carolina set up 2-yard Nick Pace touchdown run and Charlie Pace closed out the scoring with a 6-yard scoring run with 18 seconds left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
PACKERS NOTES: Because of concerns surrounding the pandemic, the crowd was noticeably smaller than a traditional opening game. ... The Packers debuted all-black uniforms for the season-opener. ... The senior members of the football team, cheerleaders, 50th Regiment Band and Jr. ROTC were introduced before the game. ... Valdosta will come to Moultrie off a 45-7 victory over Bainbridge.