TIFTON – Does this sound familiar?
In in a big Region 1-AAAAAA contest, Colquitt County’s opposition scores a third-quarter touchdown to pull to within eight points, only to watch with apparent helplessness as the Packers turn on the jets to pull away for another lopsided victory.
It happened in Valdosta on Oct. 17 when the then-undefeated Wildcats scored a touchdown with 5:41 left in the quarter to cut the Packers lead to 20-12.
Colquitt outscored the Wildcats 28-8 the rest of the way to win 48-20 to take the next step toward a much-anticipated region championship.
On Friday at Brodie Field, Tift County quarterback Tajhea Chambers scored on a sneak with 10:17 left in the third quarter as the Blue Devils narrowed the Packers advantage to 29-21.
All the Packers did from then on was score five unanswered touchdowns to win 62-21 and will return to Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium for its regular-season finale next Friday with a perfect record and Region 1-AAAAAA championship in hand.
Winning their first region title since 1999 in style, the Packers rolled up 542 yards of offense and sacked a pair of Blue Devils quarterbacks five times.
The Packers will now have the opportunity of playing at least the next two games in front of the home crowd: next Friday against struggling Camden County, which lost 40-23 to Lee County on Friday, and in a first-round state playoff game.
If the Packers win the first-round game against the No. 4 team from Region 2, expected to be 3-6 Lakeside-DeKalb, they will be back home again for round two.
Two more playoff games could be played in Moultrie before the Dec. 13 state championship game in the Georgia Dome.
The Packers certainly appear worthy of making a run to the championship game for the first time since 2010 and perhaps winning for the first time since 1994.
At 9-0, they are the lone undefeated team in Class AAAAAA after Dacula fell to Archer 24-10 on Friday.
Colquitt was averaging just over 50 points in its first three region games, but erupted again late against the Blue Devils, who fall to 6-3 overall and 1-3 in the region.
Packers coach Rush Propst attributes his team’s finishing ability to its work in the weight room.
“You’ve got to give credit to (weight and conditioning coordinator) Zach Grage for what we do,” Propst said. “Our kids don’t shy down in the weight room. Physically, we are not going to get beat. We might lose a game, but physically, we won’t get beat.”
The Packers are now averaging 53 points in region victories over Lowndes (45-27), Lee County (58-14), Valdosta (48-20) and Lee County (62-21) and are averaging 46.6 points for the season.
The last time the Packers scored more than 60 points in a game was in 2010 when they beat Tift County 63-28, also at Brodie Field.
Tift can still qualify for the playoffs with a win over Lowndes next week. Both are 1-3 in the region, with next Friday’s winner claiming in No. 4 seed and the loser being eliminated.
Valdosta defeated Lowndes 13-10 on Friday on a field goal by Brennan Goodson with 14 seconds remaining and Lee County pounded Camden County 43-20 in Kingsland.
Valdosta will travel to Lee County next Friday with the winner taking the No. 2 seed and the loser dropping to No. 3. Both are 3-1 in the region.
Quarterback Chase Parrish completed 23-of-34 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns against the Blue Devils and Sihiem King scored three touchdowns, including one on an 80-yard pass reception from Parrish on the first play of the game.
On the first snap, the Packers sent Sihiem King in motion and Parrish quickly threw the ball out to him.
The region's leading scorer then ducked behind a block and outraced the Blue Devils to complete the score and Colquitt led 7-0 just 15 seconds into the game and never trailed.
Colquitt got the ball right back on the Blue Devil 20 after Tift fumbled on its first play after kickoff, but the Packers could manage only a 36-yard field goal by Luis Martinez to lead 10-0.
Tift scored on its next possession on a 16-yard pass from quarterback Tajhea Chambers to Quay Duggins to cut the Colquitt lead to 10-7.
Martinez added a 37-yard field goal to give the Packers a 13-7 lead after the first quarter.
Colquitt held on Tift's next possession and Ty Lee turned it into points when he returned Mason Gann's punt 73 yards for a touchdown and Colquitt had extended its lead to 20-7 with 10:14 left in the half.
The Blue Devils responded when Chambers shook off a potential sack and threw to Malik Henry, who made a leaping catch then weaved his way through the secondary to complete an 81-yard touchdown that pulled the Blue Devils to within six at 20-14.
Six points was as close at Tift would get the rest of the way.
Colquitt added to its lead when, on a fourth-and-2 from the Tift 30, King took a direct snap and found a hole, racing to the end zone to put Colquitt up 26-14 with 7:09 left in half.
The Packers elected to go for two and although Parrish completed the pass, it was short of the end zone and the conversion failed.
Martinez added his third field goal of the game with 1:15 remaining to give the Packers a 29-14 lead at the half.
After the Blue Devils returned the second-half kickoff 46 yards and were the beneficiaries of a 15-yard penalty, they needed just four plays to score on a 1-yard run by Chambers.
But the Packers took the kickoff and drove 80 yards in 11 plays with King scoring his third touchdown of the game from 10 yards out, putting the Packers up 36-21 with 7:21 left in the quarter.
And the Packers were off and running.
Just four plays after King’s touchdown, Packers linebacker Bull Barge crashed into Chambers, sacking him for a seven-yard loss. Chambers walked unsteadily from the field and although he returned to the game on the next series, neither he nor the Blue Devils were the same.
The fourth quarter was all Packers with Rafael Merritt scoring on a 22-yard run on a "hide" play; Lee scoring on a 35-yard pass from Parrish; Grump Jones breaking a 71-yard touchdown run; and Nate Powell closing it out the with a 6-yard run with 3:42 left in game.
Although King, the region’s leading rusher, had just 84 yards, his three touchdowns helped discourage the Blue Devils.
Parrish threw a first-quarter interception, but Tift was unable to do anything with it and the junior quarterback played well the rest of the way.
Kiel Pollard had eight pass receptions for 75 yards and Lee had seven for 99.
Propst was pleased with the Packers defensive effort.
“We took their running back (Barry Bennett) out,” he said. “I never knew he was in the game. And we did OK on the quarterback run and scramble runs.
“Once we knew we had to be aware of where No. 11 (Henry) was, we were OK.”
Barge limped from the field midway through the fourth quarter on what Propst called a sprained ankle.
“I think he’ll be OK,” Propst said of the Packers leading tackler. “I’d say he’s doubtful for this week.”